A Jaw-Dropping Two Hours

Yesterday afternoon, I spent just over two hours glued to my computer watching the latest of the January 6th committee hearings … one that had been called spontaneously just the day before.  Some of what we saw was not particularly surprising, in light of what we’ve already learned.  But some … was simply jaw-dropping.

The witness yesterday was Cassidy Hutchinson, who was an assistant to then-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows.  She was in a position to see and hear a lot, and yesterday she told us some of what had transpired in the days leading up to and on January 6th 2021.  The first thing that really grabbed me was her testimony that before giving his speech at the Ellipse on January 6th, Trump looked at footage of the crowds and complained that there weren’t enough people.  He was informed that most people had declined to attend because it meant going through the magnetometers (called ‘mags’ for short) that would detect their weapons, and those weapons would then be confiscated.  Trump demanded that they remove the mags, let everybody in, for he said that “They’re not here to hurt me.”  He cared not one whit for anybody else’s life and was willing to let an angry mob carrying weapons of every sort from brass knuckles to AR-15s into the Ellipse.  Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed, and Trump did not get his way.

Then, Ms. Hutchinson testified that after his speech, he fully intended to go to the Capitol, but again the Secret Service intervened and told him no, they were going back to the West Wing of the White House, for they did not believe they could provide adequate security, given that there were already armed groups of rioters in trees outside the Capitol and an ever-growing armed crowd making its way toward the Capitol.  Trump again demanded, and again was refused, at which point he leaned forward and grabbed the steering wheel of the SUV he was riding in, saying, “I am the f*cking president, take me up to the Capitol now!”  Secret Service Agent Robert (Bobby) Engel, who was driving the vehicle, took Trump’s wrist and told him, “Sir, you need to take your hand off the steering wheel. We’re going back to the West Wing.,” at which time Trump went for Engel’s neck with his bare hand!  THIS, my friends, is NOT someone I want sitting in the Oval Office with the nuclear codes at his fingertips!  More and more I realize just how lucky we, as a nation, were to have survived four years under the rule of this madman!

One other thing, though, stood out in Ms. Hutchinson’s testimony and that was when he was so upset with former Attorney General William Barr for telling him the truth, that there was no evidence whatsoever of any election fraud that would change the outcome of the election, that Trump threw his lunch – dishes and all – against the wall!  But wait … worse yet, when Ms. Hutchinson was asked by Representative and Committee Vice Chair Liz Cheney if there had been other instances of Trump throwing dishes, she replied in the affirmative and also said that sometimes he would just jerk the tablecloth off the table, sending dishes and food flying to the floor.  Even a four-year-old child knows better than this!

C’mon, Republicans … if anyone would still vote to put this lunatic back into the Oval Office, that person seriously needs psychiatric help, as Trump himself obviously does!

At the close of the hearing, Ms. Cheney showed some messages that had been received by various people who were testifying before the committee … messages containing thinly-veiled threats to “do the right thing.”  The right thing, in this case, of course not being that which is in the interest of the nation, but rather is in the interest of one person only:  Donald Trump aka the former guy.  This shows us that there is still a contingent out there who would prefer a maniac in the Oval Office destroying this nation in every way possible.

We dodged the bullet last time, my friends.  I don’t think we’ll be so lucky if there’s a next time.  Please, let’s make sure there is no next time!

A Few Thoughts From My Rambling Mind

I never thought I would see the day that I considered this nation to be anti-humanitarian, a nation that cares more for wealth than for people, but today I believe we have reached that stage in the development … or rather un-development … of the country.  We can no longer hold our heads up proudly and say, “I am a U.S. citizen”, or as some would say, “I am an American.”  Nothing to take pride in there, thanks largely to fanaticism – gun fanatics, religious fanatics, and wealth fanatics for whom billions of dollars is still not enough.

Literally the only thing that matters to Republican members of Congress today is re-election.  When I read that Republicans running for re-election in states or districts where the majority voted for Democrats in 2020 refuse to comment on the outcome of the Dobbs v Jackson decision, then I think it’s obvious they have little interest in anything but their own political future.  How can we vote intelligently if the candidates will not tell us their beliefs, hide what they stand for except when they are amongst those who they know for certain share their beliefs?

Today’s Republican Party is in shambles with its members desperately trying to cling to power.  They vilify their own, but not for genuine reasons – simply because some of their own are straying from the party line, straying from the blind loyalty to the former guy.  They do not care one whit what you or I want our government to do … they care only that they are on the ‘right’ side of Donald Trump.  I would except a few from this, but the number is very few.  Obviously, Adam Kinzinger and Liz Cheney deserve the highest kudos for proving their willingness to put law & order, to put the people of this nation above their own political careers.  Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, Mitt Romney and a few others occasionally step up to the plate and consider their oaths of office, but they do so far too infrequently.

Now, some reading this will go for the moral equivalency view that the Democrats do the same.  Sometimes that is true, but today … in 2022 … the Republicans are the face of autocracy, the face of – in my book – evil.  Their ‘ideology’ is based on hate, violence, and bigotry in all its forms.  The Democrats I see in Congress are also working toward their re-election, but I don’t see them shirking their duty to We the People in the same way … they are showing up for work, trying to pass legislation that would protect our rights and our very lives … while the Republicans are mostly out on the campaign trail ranting about how the Democrats just want to take away your guns and kill babies.

It’s too damn bad that Republicans don’t work as hard at doing their job as they do at campaigning for re-election … if they did, we might actually have a functional legislative branch.

Certain elements of the U.S. Supreme Court have made it perfectly clear over the past month or so that they would gladly force religion upon us all (their own bigoted religion, that is), that they have zero respect for women, and that they only care about a child up to the point it leaves the mother’s body.  Until very recently, I had tremendous respect for the U.S. Supreme Court … it seemed to truly operate as a non-partisan branch of the government.  Nobody would ever agree with all their decisions, but overall they ruled fairly, in keeping with the U.S. Constitution and to the benefit of the nation and its people.

Today, they said that it’s okay for teachers, coaches, etc., to force religion on school children.  Last week they told women to sit down, shut up, and go make more babies to help further destroy the environment and the economy.  Also last week they indicted that the 19 school children brutally murdered in Uvalde, Texas, were merely collateral damage and no, they will not allow any state to pass gun legislation.  Gun freaks are, after all, more important to our Court than the lives of children.

And to add insult to injury, and I’m sure we will find out more about this soon, Justice Clarence Thomas’ wife, Virginia, has been found to have played an even larger role than was first thought in attempting to overthrow the government of this nation.  Where I come from, we call that treason and Justice Thomas should have immediately been removed from the bench if he refused to leave voluntarily.  But no … he is already plotting to remove rights from LGBTQ people, more rights from women, and who knows what else?  Justice Thomas, like four of his cohorts in the Court, is a clear and present danger to the democratic foundations of this republic.

I no longer have an ounce of respect for the U.S. Supreme Court.  Justices Thomas, Kavanaugh, Gorsuch, Alito, and what’s-her-name have destroyed an institution that has withstood the test of time for more than two centuries.

Respecting and believing in your country is important.  We work hard to support our government and when our elected officials fail to even try to do the job for which we elected them, the job for which we pay them, we lose faith in our nation.  When those elected officials mock and denigrate the very people they are supposed to represent, then I don’t know about you guys, but I have completely lost faith in this nation, not only the government, but the people as well.  It is a bleak feeling, one that makes one wonder … why bother anymore?  The Independence Day/July 4th holiday is just around the corner … I, for one, will NOT be celebrating, for there is little left to celebrate.

A Symptom of the New GOP — Eric Greitens

Eric Greitens … does that name ring a bell for you?  It probably does today, but a month ago, unless you live in the state of Missouri, you probably hadn’t heard of him.  Before I get into his current newsmaking event and the ramifications, let me give you a little bit of background on Mr. Greitens.

He is a Rhodes scholar with a doctorate degree from Oxford.  He is a former Navy Seal who served four tours of duty, rose to the rank of lieutenant commander, commanded a unit targeting Al-Qaeda, and was awarded a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart.  Greitens founded a nonprofit organization, The Mission Continues  , to benefit veterans. In 2013, Time included him in its list of the 100 most influential people in the world.  Sounds like a pretty decent all-round guy so far, eh?

A Democrat-turned-Republican, he ran for and won the office of Governor of the state of Missouri in 2016 and took his oath of office on January 9th, 2017.  And here’s where it starts to go downhill.  Greitens left office on June 1st, 2018 – just 17 months after moving into the governor’s mansion – due to a felony indictment for campaign-related offenses including computer tampering, and a credible sexual assault accusation.  A General Assembly had convened to commence impeachment proceedings, but Greitens resigned before the Assembly was able to decide on impeachment.

And yet, after leaving the governor’s office under a dark cloud, Mr. Greitens threw his hat in the ring and in March 2021, announced his candidacy for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by retiring incumbent Roy Blunt in the 2022 election.  Now, nothing thus far would have qualified him as one of the nastiest in the GOP, but then last weekend he released a violent campaign advertisement showing him wielding a shotgun, flanked by men dressed in full military gear carrying assault rifles.  In the ad, Greitens declared:

“Join the MAGA crew. Get a RINO hunting permit. There’s no bagging limit, no tagging limit, and it doesn’t expire until we save our country.”

Numerous times lately I have commented that the Republican Party ‘eats its own’ these days, and this terribly violent “anti-Rino” advertisement seems to affirm that.  The party is split along the lines of the Big Lie … if you believe, or at least pretend to believe, that Donald Trump won the 2020 election and if you are willing to swear an oath of fealty to Donald Trump, then you are part of the core GOP.  But if, as numerous brave souls like the ones we heard from in Tuesday’s January 6th committee hearing, you are fact-oriented, believe in democracy, believe in upholding your oath of office, believe that, in the words of Abraham Lincoln, “Democracy is a rule of the people, for the people and by the people”, then you become a GOP outcast, or as they refer to it, a RINO – Republican In Name Only.

Yesterday I talked a bit about the violent threats that had been received by election officials and their families, and I also noted that there had been, since Tuesday’s hearing, a significant increase in the threats of violence against the committee members and their families.  We all understand that the threats against such people as Brad Raffensperger, Rusty Bowers, Gabe Sterling, Adam Kinzinger, Shaye Moss and her mother Ruby Freeman were instigated and incited by none other than Donald Trump and his minions as he tried, illegally, to cling to power.  In the same way, Mr. Greitens’ ad is fully intended to stir the masses, the maga crowd, as they are known, and incite them to commit violence against any who disagree with the maga lies.

This, friends, is the new GOP.  Now, logic tells us that the GOP cannot survive long as a single political party under these conditions, but that it will crumble as it destroys itself from within.  Disagreements over policy are one thing, and a natural part of political discourse, but calling for violence raises the stakes and is untenable in the long term.  But the concern is … what happens in the interim and at the end of the day, where are we left?  The U.S. clearly needs two viable … viable being the key word here … political parties and today we do not have that.  It’s past time for the GOP, if there are any members who haven’t sold their souls to Donald Trump, to take a long, hard look at itself, its members, its ideology and decide what, if anything, they actually stand for.  Eric Greitens is but a symptom of a much larger, lethal disease.

Is “Infamy” To Become The New Normal?

Throughout history there are certain dates that stand alone, that in the retelling need no year for clarity.  December 7th, September 11th, and now January 6th … when we hear those dates, we automatically remember who, what, why, when, and where.  These three stand-alone dates all represent days when the United States was brutally attacked:  Pearl Harbour, World Trade Center/Pentagon, and the Capitol/Congress.  The first two differ from the third only in that Pearl Harbour and the World Trade Center were attacked by other nations or groups outside the U.S., while the attack on January 6th came from within, rather like having your son or daughter viciously burn your own house down with you in it.  In 1941, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt declared December 7th to be “a day that will live in infamy.”  The same can and must be said about January 6th 2021.

So often we hear, “Well, whaddabout _____________?”, or “But both sides do it!”  And sometimes, to some extent depending on circumstances, that is true.  It’s call ‘moral equivalence’.  But there is not and cannot be any moral equivalency for what was done before, during, and after January 6th in an attempt to overthrow an election, overthrow a duly elected government, and destroy people’s lives.  This one, my friends, falls entirely on the shoulders of the Republican Party and their unofficial leader, one Donald Trump.  Kevin McCarthy said just this month …

“I think everybody in the country bears responsibility [for the January 6th attempted coup].

No, Mr. McCarthy … YOU, and Donald Trump, Rudy Giuliani, Mark Meadows, Matt Gaetz, Lauren Boebert, Andy Biggs, Mo Brooks, and most every other Republican in and out of Congress bear the full weight of this one.

Not only did Donald Trump, as we now know, incite the riot at the Capitol on January 6th, but was also plotting numerous other illegal and unconstitutional tactics to overturn the election and overthrow our voices, our justly elected president Joe Biden.  Democrats did NOT do this, Independents did NOT do this – it was done by and at the behest of Republicans.

But as if that weren’t bad enough … the average John Doe Republican voter caught the spirit of the moment and set out to destroy … property, the nation, innocent lives, and more.  If you watched the four people who testified in yesterday’s televised hearing, you had to be moved.  All four told heartbreaking stories about receiving threats of violence, not only against themselves but their families as well.  You will have seen Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers testifying that until very recently Trump supporters would drive around his neighborhood and falsely announce that he was a “pedophile” and a corrupt politician. He recounted an argument between a neighbor and a man with a pistol, and also talked about the reactions of his family …

“At the same time, on some of these, we had a daughter who was gravely ill who was upset by what was happening outside and my wife, that is a valiant person, very strong, quiet, very strong woman. So, it was disturbing.”

He fought the tears that we could see in his eyes.  What he didn’t mention was that his daughter died of her illness shortly thereafter.  My own eyes were suddenly in need of a tissue, as well.

The last testimony of the day was from Shaye Moss, a young woman who had been an election worker for some ten years prior to the 2020 election.  Ms. Moss was falsely accused, along with her mother, of carrying out a fake ballot scheme and Rudy Giuliani started the ball rolling when he called them professional vote scammers, allegations that led to death threats and intimidation, and forced them into hiding for a period of several weeks.  Both Ms. Moss and her mother, Ruby Freeman, spoke at the hearing yesterday and told of the ways in which they have been tormented and threatened.

“This turned my life upside down. I no longer give out my business card. I don’t transfer calls. I — I don’t want anyone knowing my name. I don’t want to go anywhere with my mom because she might yell my name out over the grocery aisle or something. I don’t go to the grocery store at all. I haven’t been anywhere at all. I gained about 60 pounds, I don’t do nothing anymore, I second-guess everything I do.  It’s affected my life in a major way, in every way. All because of lies for me doing my job, same thing I’ve been doing forever.”

And her mother, Ruby, said …

“There is nowhere I feel safe. Nowhere. Do you know how it feels to have the President of the United States to target you? The President of the United States is supposed to represent every American, not to target one. But he targeted me, Lady Rudy, a small business owner, a mother, a proud American citizen who stand up to help Fulton County run an election in the middle of the pandemic.”

This, folks, is what everyday Republicans are doing – to their own!!!  The first three to testify, Rusty Bowers, Brad Raffensperger, and Gabe Sterling were all Republicans!  The elected officials on the Republican side of the aisle keep the populace riled with hate-spewing rhetoric, but it is the average everyday white Republican who is allowing themselves to be manipulated into this horrific behaviour aimed at the very heart and spirit of the nation.  And in the past 24 hours, since yesterday’s televised hearing, there has been an increase in threats of violence against the members of the committee, leading to a security detail being assigned to each member.

For the record, in case any Republicans, or any others who still believe the Big Lie and are enamoured of Donald Trump:

DONALD TRUMP LOST THE 2020 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION!

Get over it and try to make something of your lives instead of living your life vicariously through your wishful dreams.

I hurt … I literally hurt for what this nation has become.  It’s like when Smokey the Bear used to say, “Only YOU can prevent forest fires” … only WE THE PEOPLE can turn this around.  And if we don’t, if we fail, then our children and grandchildren will pay the hefty price.  I leave it to your imagination to figure out what that price will be.

One Thought …

I watched today’s January 6th Committee hearing in its entirety and … phew.  As I folded a load of towels after watching the last bit of it, the only thing I could think of was that if what was done to some of these election officials is considered ‘okay’, then democracy is dead in the United States of ‘America’.  If some 30% or more of the people in this nation believe that it’s okay to threaten a Secretary of State because he refused to change the votes of the people, if they believe it is okay to harass not only the election officials, but their parents, spouses, children and grandchildren … then folks, we are not “… one nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” 

The Week’s Best Cartoons 6/18

Yet another week and more of the best political ‘toons from our friend TokyoSand over at Political Charge.  Time was that these would make me laugh … and I still take my hat off to the great talents of these cartoonists … but today they make me want to cry more than laugh.  Thank you, TS, for all your hard work!

Below is a small sample … be sure to head over to TokyoSand’s place to see … the rest of the story!

See all the ‘toons at Political Charge!!!

Ahhhhh … The Snarky Snippets Keep On Rolling

Sometimes I am focused on one particular topic or news story, but many times snippets of news draw my attention in many different directions.  Today is one of those days …


WHY???

Yesterday I signed up to follow a blogger I was only recently introduced to.  Why?  Not because I find any beauty or humour in his writing, and not because I find his words to be particularly intelligent or witty.  I disagree strongly with most of what he says and find myself growling by the time I’ve gotten halfway through one of his very wordy posts (4,000 words).  So … why did I sign up to follow him?  Is it because I went looking for an argument?  Do I not have enough angst in my life?  Or is it something more?  Is it that of late I seem to only read those opinions that are in sync with my own?  Do I read this man’s words seeking to find some common ground, a shred of humanity, or am I simply spoiling for a fight.  In truth, I do not know.


A ‘platform’ made from rotten wood

Every now and then, when they want to prove to the world just how stupid their political leaders are, the state of Texas threatens to ‘secede from the United States’.  The Republican Party currently has no platform, no set of goals and ideologies, but the Texas GOP settled on a ‘platform’ at the state party convention over the weekend.  Their platform is essentially, from all I can decipher, nothing more or less than the former guy’s Big Lie.  I plan to write more about this later, but the basis seems to be that they declare Biden did not win the 2020 election and they even refer to him as the “acting President”.  Their platform also includes statements about abortion (they intend to teach schoolchildren about “about the Humanity of the Preborn Child”), and the LGBTQ community (referring to homosexuality as “an abnormal lifestyle choice.”)

Senator John Cornyn, who had worked on the milquetoast ‘bipartisan’ gun legislation that passed in the Senate last week, was actually booed and “rebuked” by the party for his work on that bill!  I told you in a post a few weeks ago that they “eat their own”! The platform, such as it is, dismisses all gun regulations as a violation of “God given rights.” Wait, I thought it was the Constitution that gave “a well-regulated militia” the “right to bear arms”???  Now, I haven’t read the bible, but … does it even mention guns?  As I said, I plan to write more on this later, but for today, suffice it to say that I agree with columnist Michael Gerson that the Republican Party is in decay!


A boycott is in order

After the January 6th attempted coup, some 249 companies promised not to fund the 147 senators and representatives who voted against any of the results.  It didn’t take some of them long to break that promise, and today more than half are now back to funding those who played a role in attempting to undermine the election that day.  Among those companies are Toyota, AT&T, UPS, FedEx, Visa, Home Depot, GM, and Exxonmobil.  I don’t know about you guys, but I will boycott these companies to whatever extent is possible.  Our lives, the very foundation of our democratic republic, were on the line that day, but for these companies, obviously their profit is more important than our lives.


A bright side

More than 5,000 flights were canceled this weekend.  GOOD!  That much less CO2 being put into the environment, killing trees, killing us.  No, I don’t feel one bit sorry for the couple who was planning a vacation trip to Italy.  Yes, I do feel sorry for the woman who missed her mother’s funeral due to a canceled flight.  But for the most part, I would like to see all air travel limited to ‘emergency’ use only for the foreseeable future.  Just because we can fly doesn’t necessarily mean we should, especially in this time of severe climate change that is having a negative effect on most of the world.  People complaining about the price of gasoline and lettuce … well, think how much gasoline and lettuce you can buy for the price of that airline ticket!!!


Human vs Neanderthal

In ordinary times, you would likely never have known the name Adam Kinzinger unless you happen to be from his home state of Illinois.  But, today I think it’s safe to say that at least 85% of the adults in the U.S. know who Adam Kinzinger is.  In case you’re one of the 15% who don’t know, a brief summary …

Adam Kinzinger is a Republican legislator who has served in the U.S. House of Representatives since 2011.  Kinzinger became known for his vocal opposition to Trump’s claims of voter fraud and attempts to overturn the results of the 2020 election. Kinzinger was one of the 10 Republicans who voted to impeach Trump for incitement of insurrection in his second impeachment, and one of only two Republicans to vote to create a select committee to investigate the 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol, to which he was subsequently appointed.  Due to the open hostility from members of his party, Mr. Kinzinger announced last October that he will not run for re-election in November.  In 2006, Kinzinger was named the Wisconsin Red Cross “Hero of the Year” for wrestling a knife-wielding man to the ground and disarming him after the man had cut the throat of a woman on a street in downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  Adam has a wife, Sofia, and one son, Christian.

A few days ago, Mr. Kinzinger’s wife, Sofia, received this letter …

I found breathing impossible as tears welled in my eyes when I read that … I could feel the evil, the hate emanating from those words.  For the rest of the evening, I felt on the brink of crying, felt that if I let it start, I would never be able to stop.  There are many people — politicians and religious leaders — whom I despise, whose faces I would spit in given half a chance, but never in my wildest thoughts would I even consider threatening violence against them or their families.  This, my friends, is the difference between a human being and a gun-toting neanderthal.

THIS, my friends, is who we are becoming.  The political divisions in this nation are leading to murder, to corruption, to destruction, and to widespread violence that I believe is inevitable in the coming months.  We the People have allowed politicians, have allowed our own greed, have allowed our sense of entitlement to bring us to this place.  We have forgotten our humanity and somewhere along the way have lost our sense of compassion, of empathy, of caring for others.

When we value our guns more than our children, when we pretend to believe the lies our politicians tell us, even though we know better, and when we believe that somehow one person is better than another because of skin colour, religion, gender affiliation, or any other criteria, then we are contributing to the kind of behaviour that cause this maniac to send this letter to Sofia Kinzinger, contributing to the likes of the teen who went into a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, aiming to murder Black people just because their skin was darker than his.

I hope law enforcement officials are able to track down the writer of that letter and that they will have the guts to prosecute and imprison him, for he does not deserve the privilege of walking on the same streets as the rest of us.  However, it’s more likely they won’t find him, if they even look, and that eventually he may carry out his threat.  And worse yet, he is only one of many such creatures who believe that violence is the solution to their problems.

This nation is rapidly losing its humanity, is becoming a violent banana republic overrun by people who care only for their own fortunes and to hell with those of us who cross them in caring for the greater good.  This letter-writer has convinced me that, while I know there ARE good people in this country, there is no longer a collective good, no longer a majority of people working toward a greater good.  R.I.P. former United States.

They Are NOT Heroes

Suddenly I’m hearing Mike Pence, Bill Barr, Ivanka Trump, and others referred to as ‘heroes’.  I don’t see it that way at all.  At some point, they did step up to the plate and do their job for We the People, but for years before that, decades in the case of Ivanka, they failed.  Instead they licked the boots and played “yes-man”, enabling a lunatic who was intent on turning the United States into his own personal playground.  I am not alone in my view of these and other people, for yesterday Frank Bruni wrote of them in his column in the New York Times


Don’t Let Bill Barr and Ivanka Trump Visit the Reputation Laundromat

June 16, 2022

By Frank Bruni

The Jan. 6 committee’s televised hearings are many things: the coalescence of scattered revelations into a clearer, cleaner narrative; an unblinking appraisal of the madness of King Donald; an opportunity for Americans to reflect on how close things came, and might yet come, to falling apart.

But for Bill Barr, Bill Stepien, Ivanka Trump and others, they are also something else — something we should not be taken in by.

They are a trip to the reputation laundromat (or perhaps, for this crowd, the reputation dry cleaner). Donald Trump’s onetime acolytes are trying to expunge the stain of their sycophancy. And they’re betting that in a country and era of fickle attention spans and feeble memories, they’ll have more luck with that spot than Lady Macbeth did with hers.

Early this week, the committee showed testimony by Barr, the former attorney general, that he told Trump again and again that Joe Biden had won the 2020 election fairly and definitively. It showed testimony by Stepien, who was Trump’s 2020 campaign manager, that he was among a group of aides — “Team Normal,” he called them — who pushed back against Rudy Giuliani’s hallucinatory insistence that the election was being stolen.

And last week, of course, was Ivanka Trump’s star turn. That’s when we saw her testimony: that she said a big no to the Big Lie.

But her, Barr’s and Stepien’s words don’t amount to moral reckonings. They reflect professional calculations.

Team Normal? If you were still working for Trump by the fourth year of his presidency, there was nothing normal about you. If you served that campaign, during which Trump repeatedly telegraphed his intention to declare any result other than victory an illegitimate one, there was nothing normal about you. If you’d taken the measure of the man before Election Day 2020 and decided, yes, he’s fit to lead America, good for this country and worthy of my efforts and energies on his behalf, there was nothing normal about you.

And if, in the weeks after Election Day, you finally stopped abetting his delusions, midwifing his megalomania and whispering sweet reassurances in his ear, you weren’t returning to normal. You were simply cutting your losses. It was time to hitch your wagon to a sturdier, steadier horse, to find another patron and another payday.

Stepien, as my colleague Michelle Cottle wrote in The Times on Tuesday, “slunk away, coat collar flipped up and hat brim pulled low in the hopes that no one would notice him fleeing the spiraling freak show to which he had sold his services and his soul.”

Susan Glasser, in The New Yorker, also had it right. Reflecting on how Stepien and Barr are now styling themselves (and being showcased) as blunt tellers of Trump-foiling truths, Glasser wrote on Monday evening that they are “not only Trump’s accusers but also first-class enablers of Trump and his lies — until Trump finally found a lie too big for them to enable. Even when it came to their qualms about Trump’s ‘rigged election’ crusade, their outrage came conveniently after the fact, not when it might have made a difference.”

Amen. We can be grateful that Barr and Stepien didn’t travel the final autocratic mile with Trump and not discount their disgraceful road to that point. We can remember how Barr, in advance of Robert Mueller’s report, released a toned-down summary of it that was clearly meant to dull its impact.

We can remember that before Mike Pence patriotically refused Trump’s order not to certify the election results, he pathetically performed the role of Trump’s evangelical beard. And don’t get me started on Ivanka. I’ve spent ample time in her temple of self-celebration, as have others. She and her husband, Jared Kushner, will always do what’s profitable for them, and if that occasionally intersects with the public interest, well, accidents happen. We can think a word of thanks without uttering a syllable of praise.

There were Republicans who took a chance on Trump at the start and got out fast, accepting that either he’d fooled them or they’d kidded themselves. There were Republicans who signaled that much was amiss. Those who didn’t — including Pence, Mike Pompeo and others with presidential aspirations in 2024 — forfeited the moral high ground and can’t credibly reclaim it now.

Nor can they pretend that they were anything other than transaction-minded actors in the most transactional administration I’ve observed. When they benefited from their proximity to Trump, they held their noses, bit their tongues and cuddled close. It’s possible they persuaded themselves that his flaws weren’t so different from any other vain leader’s, that politics is invariably messy and that their compromises were “normal” ones. That’s awfully convenient. And utterly absurd.

Tuesday’s gone with the wind – a few more windy remarks

I think that sometimes when we can make our points with humour, they are more likely to be listened to and pondered. Our friend Keith has made a few points today with a bit of ‘windy’ humour and it makes for a fun post! Overall, Keith … like all of us … just doesn’t want to see our nation become “Dust in the Wind” 😉 Thank you, Keith, for a fun and at the same time thoughtful post.

musingsofanoldfart

Using one of my favorite Lynyrd Skynyrd songs, “Tuesday’s gone” one more time, let me offer some more windy remarks. This is in deference to many politicians who tend to be big bags of wind with contrived and exaggerated truths.

  • I know everyone is anticipating the Roe v Wade impacting ruling from the Supreme Court, but another major ruling will affect jurisdiction over corporations, making it easier on these entities to cut corners. I have said before, the primary reason Republicans like conservative judges is not things like Roe v Wade, it is to help companies avoid having to be held liable for their misdeeds. Everything else is window-dressing to that primary purpose.

  • The Wizard of Oz-like actions of the most recent former president is underway to get people not to look behind the January 6 insurrection curtain. If they do, they will see a person pulling everyone’s levers to…

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