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A Commission to Investigate Presidential Crimes is a Terrible Idea

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2020/08/21/commission-investigate-presidential-crimes-terrible-idea


As such, 9/11 and its “official” explanation represented another milestone in America’s descent into lunacy.

Thank you Common Dreams for this excellent article.


So vips walk and us serfs get jail. I don’t like Mike at all.

Warren Commission was my first true introduction to the corruption that is the base of our government. Before that, the various kerfuffles during the Uncle Ike administration was beyond the scope of my age and ability. But the JFK assassination and the investigation left me stunned and bewildered. I had just attended Ohio Girls State(hard core exposure to hands-on government at all levels) and could not believe the gaps in evidence, the whole Jack Ruby-Lee Harvey Oswald event(why would any LEO so poorly guard the main suspect in killing the President that some dude packing heat could just walk up and shoot him). Bottom line-I trust nothing and no one in authority. But then my Indigenous ancestors could have slapped me upside the head and said, “Granddaughter, nothing these new people say and do is rooted in truth. Iktomi the Trickster speaks and acts through them.”


This is good reading, and I agree with Lofgren’s assessment of each “commission’s bogus ‘verdict.’”

Much more appreciated than the US commissions for their pursuit of truth are James Douglass’ superb book, “JFK and the Unspeakable. Why he died and why it matters” (2008), and the straightforward documentary movie, "Loose Change 9/11: An American Coup (2007), on the 9/11 calamity.

While both may leave the reader or the viewer with questions, they are satisfactory in their upstaging in each case of the “commission’s bogus ‘verdict.’”


Semantics, semantics. Call it what you will, however, after this past four years, with a deadlocked Congress unable to agree on most anything expect massive funding of the Military and Support for Corporations, this country of ours simply must have an ongoing, independent agency or whatever it will be called, to investigate any impropriety, however small, that a sitting president commits.

And, while they’re at it, create the laws necessary for the Attorney General and Department of Justice that must be followed to punish any lawbreaking.

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Yes I am aware of Loose Changes 9/11 documentary but may i ask: there are many excellent documentaries and articles by Building Engineers and Building Architects who have impeccable credentials, many with PH. D’s and are leaders in their respective fields of expertise, that have comprehensive and cogent alternative theories about 9/11, bur remain censored even by Common Dreams and Democracy Now!

These are not Alex Jones nut cases! And even if their alternative explanations of 9/11 are not true why do they continue to be blacklisted? One thing we know for sure, the official government 9/11 theory is so outrageous that from my perspective, it should be called a fairy tale! Only the most gullible believe it.


If Mr. Lofgren is trying to explain the Mono nucleic focus of the powerful to enrich themselves, he does a ho hum job.

Ascertaining the welfare of Americans was a primary task of congressmen when the democracy was for the inner cabal itself. The population has exploded, and the democracy has remained for the inner cabal. The fact that it was extended to the extreme population has been an illusion that FDR tried hard to perpetuate.

Now you would be considered delusional if you went into Congress trying to do good for the bourgeoisie. A la AOC. You would soon be instructed of the rules of the game and be told by Powers that Be who Mama Bear was.

With no freedom to protest and few other tools to engage, the plutocracy has us by the proverbial nuts, and the illusion of fairness and egalitarianism is fading fast.

The illusion will truly disappear when no help arrives and the rentier class insists on rent with an ever exploding pandemic.

The possibility that justice is occasionally delivered is a surprise. The spectacle and publicity of the case often determines the outcome. When no one is watching, the courts are used for slavery and trafficking. The media pumps up the odd case for its own revenue.

Creating yet another metric for Donald Chimp would be completely unnecessary if the current smorgasbord of laws regarding emoluments or sedition were applied. Would have appreciated the mention of that by the author.


Forgetting that Henry Kissinger was their first pick to run the cover-up commission. Some great lines here
*his sort of action would result in the usual suspects subverting the commission’s intent. Based on own my experience in government, the preferred modus operandi of high-profile commissions is to contain public anger and distress rather than get at the truth.

It is not an exaggeration to say that the art form of the classic Washington commission is this: create a ballyhoo through public relations, appoint grave and unimpeachably bipartisan grey eminences as commission members, count on said members, who really don’t want to upset the system, to conduct a coverup disguised as an expose, replete with stern warnings over the small details of skullduggery that divert attention from the greater misdeeds they ignore.

But strangely there appear to be cover-ups in the rest?
Basically bored or complicit

I understand, and somewhat agree with, the arguments against a commission. But, if you’re going to criticize the idea, at least put forth how you think how the matter of the Trump administration’s crimes ought to be handled. Or are you one of those people who think we should just move on? Because, if that’s your thinking, that’s where we part company.


You might have mentioned that James Douglass, in his book, refutes Mike Lofgren’s claim that “Oswald did it” about as well as that has ever been done. I usually find Mike to be hard headed, but just because we still don’t know who did it does not mean “Oswald did.” Lest anyone think I’m in league with Qanon, I point out that the " United States House Select Committee on Assassinations" reached a similar conclusion long ago, along with many less official but still credible sources. And none-other-than Trump himself has refused to allow the full declassification of all known documents 50 years later.


Lofgren makes mostly excellent points but enough loose dismissals to be troubling.

His most important point

“If these sorry precedents are not enough, the very concept of a commission handling what should be a judicial proceeding is a fundamental indictment of equal justice on America.”

which he undercts by lumping the ridiculous with the probable

“Hence bizarre conspiracy theories involving everything from the conjecture that the airliners people “saw” hit the Trade Center were actually a laser-projected image to “proof” that the Boeing 757 that slammed into the Pentagon was a cruise missile. A year ago, one conspiracy buff at a political dinner got so animated explaining the melting point of the steel in the Trade Center’s girders to me (an involuntary listener), that she spilled a glass of red wine on my suit.”

which makes me wonder how far his denial goes.
The pictures I saw of the Pentagon in the mainstream media showed no impact from where 2 very large wings should have been.
Im sorry for the wine stain on your suit but the melting point of steel is relevant to the physics involved in bringing the only 3 modern steel skyscrapers down supposedly by fire into their own foot prints within hours of eachother while one of the buildings was not even struck by a jet and only suffered an office fire before it’s 52 stories collapsed in hours (building #7 would have been the tallest building in 47 states).
From The Magic Bullet that killed JFK to the weoponized anthrax made only by a US military lab and sent through the mail to Tom Daschle, Patrick Leahy, and Bob Stehens (who died along with 4 others, 2 of which were postal workers), conspiracies theories are too often all too real the higher one climbs in the world of power. The task of sorting and parsing mountains of BS is Herculean but that is our first line of defense. I dont know if the author intends harm to his readers by his errors but often the best lies cut sharper by shiny truth fashioned to their edges.

“Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.”

  • Aldous Huxley

“The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.”

  • Joe Klaas

How to address the numerous crimes of Trump in the ‘post-Trump era’, is an important conversation we should all be having.
Personally, I would be quite happy simply to remove the entire, unbroken stream of compromised corporate sycophants that have infested our three branches of government since I can remember. I wouldn’t start “executing billionaires in Central Park”, though I can completely relate to the urge, but I would for damn sure prevent all of them from every being in a position of power again.
In Cambodia and Rwanda after countless brutal crimes were committed, the leaders were forced to return to their home villages and spend the rest of their lives atoning for the horrible acts they were responsible for. Pol Pot for example cried and apologized each day as countless survivors told him the stories of the pain and suffering his violent regime had caused. Pol Pot was obliged to appear everyday for as long as it took to face any victim of his brutality who wanted to wail on him. Screaming and yelling insults at him, the occasional slap in the face or a rotten piece of fruit whipped at his head was the price he had to pay, but he wasn’t locked in a cage answering the phone for American Airlines for his remaining days. He died free, but poor and humbled and he never came close to being a threat to anyone ever again.
I know that the American way is to make the offenders caged slaves for eternity at best and death row or brutalized in prison at worse. But if we don’t change our definitions of crime and punishment from the onset, we start setting the nasty rules of engagement for the next societal breakdown. After all, isn’t it the absence of compassion and empathy from our authorities that defines what is wrong with our country? It was Gandhi who once said… “THE TRUE MEASURE OF ANY SOCIETY CAN BE FOUND IN HOW IT TREATS ITS MOST VULNERABLE MEMBERS”. Has anything really changed since then?
We must focus strictly on how we can effectively cleanse our government from undue influence by a handful of wealthy overlords. We must accomplish the wholesale retirement of the ruling class though, without forcing the Establish to literally fight for their very lives. Presenting a demand for “unconditional surrender” to the architects of our failed policies may be necessary, but threatening a nuclear holocaust if there is any further resistance, is hardly a recipe for a peaceful transfer of power. If Trump is flat broke, working in a soup kitchen and attending anger management classes in his final days, I could live with that. Let’s be proud of how more advanced we are than the right wing, knee jerk, brutal responses that we were all subjected to for generations and embrace a kinder and gentler society that is inclusive and humane.


I have tremendous respect for Mike Lofgren. So sorry the Frank Church Committee hearings and its rarely referenced (especially after 9-11-01 return of institutional torture and black ops to Washington’s ‘tool kit’) book-length report didn’t fit Mr Lofgren’s lame parameters.

Not to mention forcing mainstream media to admit much formerly "Off-the-media-reservation" subjects like institutionalized torture and its lack of efficacy aside from humanitarian objections and other subjects such as the role of intelligence black ops in the black market pipelining of drugs into U.S. cities as a suppressed logistical component of the CIA’s Directorate of Operations and the Mass Surveillance of the NSA using high tech means not even covered in mainstream media back in the 1970’s that presaged the Snowden, Assange and Manning leaks along with many intelligence whistle blowers who were criminally prosecuted by Obama-Biden administrations.

Other areas where bi-partisan congressional investigative committees could provide necessary pressure on the increasingly power-grabbing Executive and Justice chambers of checks and balances governance is long past due.
See Christopher Simpson’s study of the use of NSDD’s (National Security Decision Directives) in by-passing congressional oversight and public awareness when long-standing law and established policy is violated by over-reaching Executive Office with cover by Attorney General (the nation’s Top Cop). Sound familiar and relevant to today’s situ? Why was it any less so when Obama-Biden were seeking to bypass congress with their TPP and TPA (Trade Promotion Authority) trans national deal-making as they did with the KORUS, FTA (Free Trade Agreement) resulting in a near tripling of the trade deficit with one single Asian country and global manufacturing rival, South Korea?

The Privatization of National Security along with a post mortem on the privatization of the prison system via profit-maximizing prisons and Reveal’s recent non-profit investigative journalism series on unregulated drug rehab programs and prison use of free to sub-minimum wage labor by profit-maximizing privatized service-providers.

Where have the post mortems been on the ZOMBIE ECONOMIC IDEAS THAT WALK AMONG US (to paraphrase the title of Australian economist John Quiggin’s book title on Princeton U. Press) never cited on any of our dozens of business news programs broadcast on commercial and so-called Public Broadcast systems? Why are Neo-Liberal E-CONomic policies unchallenged by either of our Duopoly’s political leadership or corporate-captured mass media?

Especially when the quantification of the PRIVATE INTEREST concentration of wealth while the austerity programs applied to the PUBLIC INTEREST sectors spread pauperization under the guise and PR campaigns of relentless indoctri-NATION of ECONOMIC MIRACLES and stock market value boosting while nation-states with Public Sector broadcast systems have been having deeper public discussions and better socio-economic policy outcomes than once-leading U.S. for decades now.

Mitch Ritter\Paradigm Sifters, Code Shifters and Psalm Chasers
Lay-Low Studios, Ore-Wa
Media Discussion Lookee List

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And then the is the redundant lyrical rut of impunity - virtually a ‘co-equal’ branch unit of mafia shadows. Yup - history might not repeat, but it sure is stuck in a hall of mirrors of reflections and projections.


Lofgren’s comments and references about the Pentagon crash on 911, demissing all conjectures about the visible evidence as “conspiracy theories” show there is something seriously wrong in his thinking and his connections to power.
No damage from wings hitting the building, nor physical presence of engines or of the tail nor the size of the original crash hole, or damage to the grass, and on and on … ALL this is dismissed in Lofgren’s references to HIS “reality” of the event. They talk about new, reinforced wall structure, etc. but not one reference to the disappearance of all nearby cameras within a short time of the incident.
The fact that he mocks those who seek the truths of the horrible events of that day, for me, destroys his credibility completely.

He might even be “right” in his analysis of commissions, but I believe he has shown his “opinions” not to be all that trustworthy.


Lofgren misses the forest for the trees.

Because it isn’t just “commissions” that are designed to deflect, distract, and distort in service to protecting the status quo – the whole damn government performs that function, starting with a 2-party farce that hides its ceaseless collusion by masquerading as a push-pull between competing factions on some kabuki political spectrum that veers all the way from far right to center right.

And Lofgren left out Obama’s infamous Catfood Commission, led by a far right Republican and a center right Democrat, which performed its objective of serving up its pre-ordained conclusion that deficits are bad, the safety net is too expensive, and that average working class Americans are being treated too generously by wealthy Americans who are being taxed too much. Grand Bargain, anyone?


[quote=“sekhmetsdaughter, post:4, topic:81464”]
and could not believe the gaps in evidence, the whole Jack Ruby-Lee Harvey Oswald event(why would any LEO so poorly guard the main suspect in killing the President that some dude packing heat could just walk up and shoot him).

Does anyone really believe that they could walk into any police station in America with a loaded gun and not be arrested? Let alone, a Chicago hood like Jack Ruby?

My theory is that Oswald was suppose to have been killed at the Dallas, theater, so he could not talk when something went wrong and so the assassins that were behind the assassination of JFK, contacted Ruby and told him we cannot allow Oswald to talk ( remember he did manage to say he was a patsy)" if you do not take Oswald out, we will take you out"!

And may I ask, Oswald was interrogated by the Dallas police for many hours and yet those files have still been classIfied since 1963…WHY?


Mike Lofgren"s note, “…a commission handling what should be a judicial proceeding…” is his only reference to an alternative to a commission. It would be nice if he had fleshed out this concept with how it would cover the range commissions do and demonstrated that it is the by far the superior approach.

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Welcome to the Commons Leo. Given the recent track record of commissions as described in the article, I agree with he author’s point that the usual criminal justice system will be the better approach here. Remember that there are multiple prosecutors in multiple jurisdictions that may investigate these crimes so the chance that a thorough investigation is conducted by at least one of them - and in a timely manner - is probably better than the chance that a national commission would do so. This is especially true since a national commission report takes so long to generate and to get consensus of its members and they often obstruct individual prosecutors from getting ahold of evidence in the mean time (also the very nature of consensus in these situations makes progressively bold recommendations on how to avoid abuses in the future an impossibility)

It’s a shame because there were a number of solid commissions many years ago that did align with their stated purpose including

  1. The Pecora Commission (1932 start, report in 1934) that looked into the cause of the institutional failures leading to the crash of 1929 and lead to a number of New Deal reforms of the financial system


  1. The Kerner Commission to study the causes of the “riots” of 1967 (report released in 1968) that found poverty, the economic system, and institutional racism to be the primary culprits. The report was rejected by LBJ but embraced by MLK and Bobby Kennedy who were both assassinated within a couple months after its release.