Lookin’ Good, Merrick Garland!

Merrick-GarlandYesterday was the first of the two-day confirmation hearings for Merrick Garland, President Biden’s choice to head the Department of Justice.  I have felt for weeks that Garland would be confirmed by the Senate, for he is both liked and respected by those on both sides of the aisle.  According to an article in The Washington Post …

“… there was little acrimony and many Democrats and Republicans on the panel appeared to treat his confirmation almost as a foregone conclusion.”

Several Republicans seem certain that Garland will be confirmed …

“I believe so. There were people that weren’t totally satisfied with his answers, but i didn’t hear anybody get really irritated. … For the most part, he answered pretty well.” – Senator Chuck Grassley (republican) from Iowa

“That certainly seems likely. I thought he did fine. It was frustrating in that he answered very few questions. He approached it more like a judicial nominee dodging every question.” – Senator Ted Cruz (republican) from Texas

“Judge Garland is about as sure a bet as you can have in the Congress these days that he will be confirmed. He has navigated these questions with extraordinary adroitness and aplomb.” – Senator Richard Blumenthal (democrat) from Connecticut

To be sure, there were contentious lines of questioning, especially from the likes of Senator John Neeley Kennedy, a republican from Louisiana, and the ignoble Josh Hawley who cheered the attackers on January 6th, and did everything in his power to try to overturn our votes on that day.  But, Garland remained cool and his answers brought no rebuttal.  For example, Hawley arrogantly twirled his pencil while attempting to goad Garland into a conversation on defunding the police, and on what constitutes ‘domestic terrorism’.

Garland, who prosecuted the Oklahoma City bombing perpetrators before becoming a federal judge,  looked Hawley straight in the eye and responded …

“As you no doubt know, President Biden has said he does not support defunding the police, and neither do I. We saw how difficult the lives of police officers were in the body-cam videos we saw when they were defending the Capitol.  The use of violence or threats of violence in an attempt to disrupt democratic processes.  So an attack on a courthouse while in operation trying to prevent judges from deciding cases, that plainly is domestic extremism, domestic terrorism.”

Lindsey Graham, who would not allow Garland’s hearing to take place earlier this month, reared his typically ugly head, quizzed Garland on whether he thought James Comey, who was fired by the former guy early in his administration, was a good FBI Director.  Garland calmly replied that the question was not useful and that he didn’t intend to get into critiquing other directors.  Then Graham responded churlishly with …

“Well, you’ve been very political, and appropriately so, at times. I just find it pretty stunning that you can’t say, in my view, that he was a terrible FBI director.”

However, at the end of the day, Lindsey told Garland, “I think you’re a very good pick for this job.”  Even Senator Kennedy, one of the more obnoxious among republican senators, said “You’ll be a good attorney general.”

Perhaps Garland’s most powerful statement, at least in my eyes, was when he said …

“I am not the president’s lawyer, I am the United States’ lawyer.”

Quite the contrast from previous Attorney General William Barr who saw himself and the entire Department of Justice as tools at the former guy’s disposal.

No doubt there will be some Republicans who will oppose the nomination, likely Tom Cotton, Mike Lee, and Josh Hawley among them, but the general consensus is that Garland will win senate confirmation when the vote is taken on March 1st.  Score one for justice.

The Former Guy

I took a brief hiatus yesterday … my sanity depended on it.  But today I return … renewed, refreshed, and …. Oh heck, it’s all a lie. Who do I think I’m kidding?  I am neither renewed nor refreshed … I am, rather, exhausted and depressed, but for better or for worse, I am back with my usual … um … bit of ‘tude.


Trump is now “the former guy”

Remember January 20th, 2017 when President Obama left the White House, attended the inauguration of Donald Trump, and then was rarely in the news?  His time in the limelight was over, it was time to pass the baton, and move on with his life.  That is as it should be, folks.  So why the Sam Hell is Donald Trump’s face continually splattered over every media site, and his every word published ad nauseam?

It is time to step away from Donald Trump, my friends.  It is time for the media to focus on today’s reality, not yesterday’s lies.  I call on the press to stop … cease and desist … before they make the same mistake they made in 2016 of giving him so much free airtime that ultimately he was seen as something he wasn’t:  human.  A few days ago, Biden chose not to refer to Trump by name, and called him ‘the former guy’.  I suggest that become his new moniker … it suggests his current irrelevance, and that is what is needed right now if this nation stands a chance of healing.  He has no meaning to us, is naught but a private citizen like you and I.  I hope to be writing about the charges, both federal and state, against him over the coming year, but that’s about all I care about regarding him or his activities or rhetoric.

I and other bloggers have focused on the attacks of January 6th, incited and financed by the former guy, and the related impeachment trial, in hopes he would be held accountable for his actions for once.  The impeachment is over, the Republican Party is forever stained for their refusal to hold him accountable, and no, we won’t forget … ever.  However, it’s time now to realize that the former guy is no longer relevant to our lives, and focus on what is happening in our government, in the world today.  The former guy is history, he is boring for he is a broken record with only 5 phrases on his track.  A recent survey, taken 3 days after the pathetic impeachment vote, claims that 54% of republicans plan to back Trump as a presidential candidate in 2024.  Okay, fine, wonderful, but the election is not for another three-and-a-half years, some 45 months from now. There is work being done by the Biden administration that is far more important than what the former guy does or says.  And frankly, I think the squirrel on my back porch has as much chance of winning in 2024 as Trump.  So, let’s put the ugly man aside, leave him to languish in his fancy digs or rot in prison, and let us focus more on the things that matter in our lives.

Joe Biden brings to our government fresh blood, people who are intelligent, educated, and knowledgeable in their fields, and he brings policies that will make positive contributions to our lives, our health, and our environment.


The Biden cabinet

To date, seven of President Biden’s nominations for cabinet positions have been confirmed, most by a significant majority:

  • Tony Blinken, Secretary of State, was confirmed on January 26th by a vote of 78-22
  • Janet Yellen, Secretary of Treasury, was confirmed on January 25th by a vote of 84-15
  • Lloyd Austin, Secretary of Defense, was confirmed on January 22nd by a vote of 93-2
  • Pete Buttigieg, Secretary of Transportation, was confirmed on February 2nd by a vote of 86-13
  • Denis McDonough, Secretary of Veteran’s Affairs, was confirmed on January 27th by a vote of 87-7
  • Alejandro Mayorkas, Secretary of Homeland Security, was confirmed on February 2nd by a vote of 56-43
  • Avril Haines, Director of National Intelligence, was confirmed on January 20th by a vote of 84-10

Next week, confirmation hearings are scheduled for …

  • Merrick Garland, Attorney General, February 22-23
  • Debra Haaland, Secretary of the Interior, February 23
  • Xavier Becerra, Secretary of Health and Human Services, February 23

The Biden cabinet is coming together nicely, and I’m pleased that there has been no significant disruption in the process, apart from the time spent in the impeachment trial.  Every one of these people have the background, education and experience to handle the job, unlike their counterparts in the previous administration.  I don’t foresee a problem with the confirmations of Garland, Haaland, or Becerra, though I could always be overlooking something.  After all, it was me who declared 5 years ago that the former guy didn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of winning the presidency.  Sigh.  Sooner of later I’ve got to be right … right?

Good News, Humorous News, and Lindsey Graham

First, the good news

The Department of Transportation, formerly under the leadership of Elaine Chao, Mitch McConnell’s wife, has a new leader!  Yesterday, the Senate confirmed Pete Buttigieg, aka Mayor Pete, to the position of Secretary of Transportation!

buttigiegYou’ll remember that Mayor Pete ran as a candidate for president in the 2020 Democratic Party presidential primaries and gained significant momentum in mid-2019 when he participated in several town halls and debates. Buttigieg narrowly won the Iowa caucuses and placed a close second in the New Hampshire primary.  By winning Iowa, he became the first openly gay candidate to win a presidential primary or caucus. Buttigieg dropped out of the race on March 1st 2020, and endorsed Joe Biden the following day.

Under Ms. Chao, the Department of Transportation faded into the background, for she was rarely available to speak to the press, but make no mistake – this is a very important agency that oversees aviation safety, railroads, transit, highways and more.  At age 39, Buttigieg is also the youngest Cabinet secretary in the Biden administration and youngest person to serve as Secretary of Transportation.

Congratulations, Mayor Pete!


Now for the humorous

You all know that Trump has a golf course in Scotland, right?  Actually, he owns two of them.  The Scottish Parliament is considering launching an investigation into the financing of those golf courses.  Scottish Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie is urging the government to seek what is called an unexplained wealth order (UWO) against the Trump Organization’s two golf courses in Scotland.

A UWO is a relatively new piece of British criminal legislation, requiring the subject, in this case Donald Trump, to explain how exactly their assets were acquired. If their reasoning is not satisfactory, then the assets are “presumed to be recoverable property,” meaning they could be seized.  Reading this was my first chuckle of the day today!

Now, nobody in the Trump family can be accused of having an excess of intelligence, but the dumbest of them all is son Eric, who is said to be fuming at the possibility of the investigation …

junior-eric“Patrick Harvie is nothing more than a national embarrassment with his pathetic antics that only serve himself and his political agenda.  If Harvie and the rest of the Scottish government continue to treat overseas investors like this, it will deter future investors from conducting business in Scotland, ultimately crushing their economy, tourism and hospitality industries.”

According to Harvie, the fact that Trump’s businesses and business practices are the subject of a massive investigation in New York prompted his call for an UWO.  Makes perfect sense to me, knowing that Trump has been involved in some 6,000 lawsuits!


And last … ol’ Lindsey Graham

President Biden nominated Merrick Garland as Attorney General, the top position in the Department of Justice.  This is a key and critical position and Merrick Garland is more than qualified to fill it.  Merrick Garland was literally screwed over by Mitch McConnell and his gang of republican thugs in 2016 when President Obama nominated him to fill the Supreme Court seat vacated upon the death of Justice Antonin Scalia.  McConnell would not even permit the Senate to interview Garland then, saying that the next president should be the one to fill that seat … some 9 months before even the election, 11 months before that ‘next’ president would take office.  (Isn’t it funny how he changed his tune last year and hustled to confirm the bigoted and unqualified Amy Barrett to the seat vacated by Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death?)

Merrick-GarlandMerrick Garland is … or should be … a shoo-in for the Attorney General position, and confirmation hearings are likely to be more of a formality, as he is well-known and well-respected by members of both parties.  But Lindsey Graham likes to play games, even when his games are a threat to the nation.  Because as of yesterday, the two parties had not yet managed to come to terms on the ‘organizing resolution’ for the Senate, which is currently split 50-50, Lindsey Graham is still the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman.

When the incoming chairman, Dick Durbin, requested scheduling the confirmation hearing for Garland on February 8th, Lindsey immediately rejected the notion.  Why?  Because it would take place the day before the start of Trump’s impeachment trial.

“A one-day hearing as you are proposing the day before the impeachment trial of a former president is insufficient. Democrats do not get to score political points in an unprecedented act of political theater on one hand while also trying to claim the mantle of good government on the other.”

OH HO HO HO … read that last sentence again!  Is this not the ultimate hypocrisy?  But then, the entire GOP has become the very definition of the word ‘hypocrisy’.  Expecting to hold a confirmation hearing for the top spot in the Justice Department a full month after the nomination is ‘political theater’?  Somebody really needs to send Lindsey Graham back home to South Carolina!

But there is a bright spot in this story.  This morning, Senators Schumer and McConnell finally managed to reach an agreement.  According to Schumer …

“I am happy to report this morning that the leadership of both parties have finalized the organizing resolution for the Senate. We will pass the resolution through the Senate today, which means that committees can promptly set up and get to work.”

So, by tomorrow, Mr. Graham will likely no longer be the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman and the decision will not be his to make!  Let us hope that Senator Durbin will get the confirmation hearings on the schedule for next week, and that the process is completed quickly so that Merrick Garland can take his place as Attorney General and begin doing the serious work that must be done in the aftermath of the January 6th attacks on Congress.Lindsey-Graham