Perhaps We Trusted Too Much

If you were born with pale skin in the United States in the last 150 years, you have led a life of great privilege, though you might not realize it.  You might begin to realize it if you could exchange brief life stories with someone your age born in Ghana, Afghanistan, Hong Kong, Brazil, Iraq … most any other non-democratic nation.  But here’s the thing … we are so used to that life of privilege that we no longer appreciate it, we take it for granted.

Since you were old enough to talk, you’ve understood that this is a mostly free nation, that people have certain ‘unalienable’ rights.  You can choose your own career path, can choose to be well-educated … or not.  You can choose, within the confines of your economic status, where to live, what sort of car to drive.  You are not told who, or even if you must marry.  You are not forced into any religion.  And perhaps most importantly of all, you have the right to vote in order to keep people in government who are dedicated to preserving your rights.

You were told when you first learned about the founding of the U.S. and the U.S. Constitution that this document was the foundation of our nation and was the primary safeguard against the country ever becoming a Nazi Germany ruled by a madman.  You were told that the Constitution guaranteed that religion and government would always be kept separate, that you would never be beheaded for not believing in any religion.  It is your right, you were told, to be a Jew, Muslin, Hindu, Christian, or atheist.  It is your right to marry whomever you choose.  It is your right to have the final say over your body.  And you thought all this was guaranteed, that those ‘rights’ could never be taken away from you.

It may just be that you were wrong.

We became lazy, we became complacent, we became inured to the little things that were chipping away at our lives, our freedoms, as we didn’t even realize it.  We trusted in our government and its foundational separation of powers that would always keep any one branch of government from having too much power.  We never asked ourselves what would happen if two or even three of those branches plotted to join hands and become all-powerful.  We had the utmost faith in the impartial, non-partisan, 9-member Supreme Court that would always rule in favour of ‘right’.  We trusted in the ‘Separation of Church and State’ doctrine to keep us free of bigoted, restrictive rules imposed by religious sects.

But a funny thing happened as we travelled through the decades.  Men became intoxicated by power and the smell of money. And then they lied to us.  They lied about little things, they lied about big things.  They manipulated us, told us that those who try to help people in need are ‘socialists’ and ‘communists’, even though the majority of people do not even understand what those terms mean, but these greedy men gave us their interpretation and … we were too lazy to educate ourselves with facts, to learn the truth of the matter.

I won’t go through the entire scenario of the past twelve years or so, but here we are today … dangerously close to the precipice, to that thin line that separates a democratic republic from an autocracy.  Even now, when we nearly lost our voices and our freedoms on January 6th, far too many people believe that the men lying to them on a near-hourly basis are the good guys, the guys in the white hats.  They have allowed themselves to be brainwashed into believing that white folks like themselves are being pushed into a minority and that … somehow this is not a good thing.  They have been convinced that climate change is a hoax, that the pandemic is but a minor blip on the radar, and that somehow all evil stems from one side of the political spectrum.

A quote by Nelson Mandela speaks volumes here …

The United States is at a crossroads.  We can continue to allow the politicians, our elected representatives, to lie to us, to rob us, to cheat on us, as we take comfort in the fact that we have a job, a comfortable home, a ‘happy’ life, or we can educate ourselves, wake up and realize what could happen, how drastically our lives could change over the coming few years if we simply do nothing, continue to believe that somehow it will “all work out in the long run.”  A lot of people in Germany 90 years ago made the same mistake.

It Should Be Humanitarian, Not Political!

The 24/7 press about the situation in Afghanistan wears on one’s psyche, especially in light of all the finger-pointing, mud-slinging and everyone putting their own coat of varnish on the situation and its political ramifications.  I am a forever supporter of a free press, but … in return, I expect them to be responsible in their reporting.  This responsibility seems to be largely lacking at the moment.

Nobody can sum up a situation quite like New York Times’ Frank Bruni, so I shall leave it to him to unpack the current chaos …


Stop Politicizing the Misery in Afghanistan

By Frank Bruni

Opinion writer

26 August 2021

Democrats are panicked that the debacle in Afghanistan will shake American voters’ confidence in not only President Biden but also the rest of the party, potentially costing it control of the Senate and the House in 2022. They’ve said as much — to me, to other journalists, to anyone who will listen.

I wish they’d stop, because their political fate is nothing next to the fate of Afghans on the wrong side of the Taliban. And every time they communicate as much concern with the party’s near future as with Afghanistan’s, they inch toward the very destiny they dread.

To review: There were explosions today outside the airport in Kabul, underscoring how gravely dangerous the situation there is. Afghans have been crushed to death in stampedes to that area. Many who took considerable risks to help us now justifiably fear brutal reprisals from the Taliban and cannot count on us to get them to safety. Refugees have traded one hell for another: fetid, sweltering, rat-infested camps unfit for even fleeting human habitation. And some of our allies have struggled to rescue their own citizens and lost yet more faith in the United States.

But, sure, let’s talk about domestic politics and the midterms — which, mind you, are more than 14 months away.

I’m not minimizing the stakes of those elections. Given the Republican Party’s capitulation to conspiracy theories, its contempt for democratic norms, the paranoia of Marjorie Taylor Greene, the depravity of Matt Gaetz, the cowardice of Kevin McCarthy and the stubborn pull of their orange overlord, a Republican takeover of Congress would likely be disastrous.

But you know how Democrats and the media can increase the odds of that? By framing too much in those terms. By conspicuously keeping score: This event works to our advantage, that development works in theirs, we drew blood here, they drew blood there. When everyone seems equally political, everything is reduced to politics, and voters have a harder time seeing who’s on their side. They see only a contest with contestants out for themselves.

Republicans are goading Democrats, that’s for sure. Donald Trump is mocking them and Fox News taunting them — by politically weaponizing the misery in Afghanistan and casting it as an illustration of Biden’s and Democrats’ unfitness to govern.

Let them. They look parochial at best, callous at worst and opportunistic through and through. They’re right to demand more of the country and its president than what we’ve seen in regard to Afghanistan, and it’s fine to discuss that, but not in a tone so nakedly partisan and not with a memory so audaciously selective.

Trump would have done us prouder? Hah. The United States was humiliated repeatedly and spectacularly under his, um, leadership, as he gleefully trashed our most cherished ideals. What’s more, there was nothing in his magnitude of ignorance, self-consumption and neglect to suggest that he would have accomplished a withdrawal from Afghanistan — which, mind you, he was insistent about — with more grace. Any assertion otherwise charts the confluence of runaway revisionism and pure fantasy.

But if Democrats want to be sure to beat Republicans, their best bet is to be not like them: to focus on the substance of problems rather than their political implications, to talk about solutions without calculating their political benefit. In these jaded times, a little genuine earnestness could go a long way.

That holds true for the media as well. In an excellent column in The Washington Post recently, Margaret Sullivan rued the fact that reporting on government has become reporting on politics, although the two aren’t — or at least shouldn’t be — the same. Her prompt was the fight between Democrats and Republicans over a congressional investigation into the events of Jan. 6. She implored journalists to “stop asking who the winners and losers were in the latest skirmish. Start asking who is serving the democracy and who is undermining it. Stop being ‘savvy’ and start being patriotic.”

Amen. A similar plea has a place in the coverage of Afghanistan. I’ve pretty much given up on Republicans for the time being, but I’m still rooting for better from Democrats, who should focus on how the United States honors the promises we made in Afghanistan, limits the suffering there and reclaims a place of honor and reliability in global affairs. I don’t want the handicapping of the 2022 horse race, at least not right now.

The Media and GOP Revel in Botched Afghan Withdrawal

I’m already sick and damn tired of the media and the radical right blaming President Biden for what is happening in Afghanistan. Their own last two presidents are more culpable than Biden … G.W. Bush made the wrong decision to put boots on the ground there in 2001, and the former guy actually played footsies with the Taliban! Put the blame where it belongs if you must ‘blame’ someone. Our friend Jeff has written a post that precisely reflects my own thoughts. Thanks, Jeff!

On The Fence Voters

The daggers are out – sharpened the past seven months by a media devoid of drama, intrigue, lies, and other wrongdoing they’d grown accustomed to the previous four years. The GOP, eager to pounce, now has some chaos they can hang on President Joe Biden.

Why does it seem that certain people seem to be rooting for failure? Because they are. It’s pretty simple. The media and the GOP have specific reasons for loving every minute of the botched exit from Afghanistan.

We’ve heard, anecdotally, that certain media members haven’t been too happy in recent months. They long for those days when all you had to do was head to Twitter early in the morning to find out what crazy mutterings the disgraced former president was typing into his phone. Ah, there’s my story for today! Oh wait, it’s mid-afternoon, and now he’s gone completely off the rails!

Those were…

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A Couple Of Thoughts …

You may remember the killing of a Black man, Botham Jean on September 6th, 2018, but in case you’ve forgotten, allow me to refresh your memory.

Mr. Jean, a college graduate and an accountant, was sitting in his living room on the 4th floor of his apartment building watching television and eating ice cream on that fateful evening.  Dallas police officer Amber Guyger was off duty and returning home from her shift.  Her apartment was one floor below Mr. Jean’s, on the third floor, but she somehow mistakenly went to the 4th floor and allegedly believed Mr. Jean’s apartment was her own.  She claims that his door was ajar, she assumed there was a burglar inside, and when she entered and saw him sitting there, she shot him dead.  When she called police, the dispatcher asked for her location, and she had to go look at the number on the door to see where she even was.  I don’t know about you folks, but if I walked into an apartment that wasn’t mine, I would immediately know I was in the wrong apartment!  And how many burglars are going to sit around in their shorts, watching television and eating ice cream???

When I first wrote about this murder shortly after it happened, I sensed that if Mr. Jean had been a white man, he would still be alive today.  Nothing I have read has changed my mind. A number of my readers also commented that there seemed to be some missing pieces, that there was likely more to the story than met the eye.

At any rate, it was several days before Guyger was arrested, and then she was only charged with manslaughter.  The charges were later upgraded to murder, and on November 30, 2018, Guyger was indicted on murder charges by a Dallas County grand jury.  The following year, on October 1st, 2019, Guyger was convicted on the charges of murder and sentenced to ten years in prison.   On August 7th, 2020, Guyger’s attorneys filed an appeal, alleging that insufficient evidence existed to convict her of murder. The appeal sought either an acquittal, or a reduction in charge to criminally negligent homicide with a new hearing for sentencing on the reduced charge.

This week on Thursday, August 5th, a panel of three state judges on the Texas appeals court upheld the murder conviction, denying her appeal.  She remains in prison and will become eligible for parole in 2024.  Sadly, Mr. Jean will not be eligible to have his life restored.  This is one of only two cases I am aware of in the past decade where a white police officer has been held fully accountable for the murder of an unarmed Black person, the other of course being the conviction of Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd.  It is good to see justice work, but there are so many more who need the long arm of the law to encircle them and carry them off to prison, such as officers Myles Cosgrove and Joshua Jaynes in Louisville, Kentucky, who shot and killed a Black woman, Breonna Taylor, while she slept in her own bed!

And since I’ve mentioned George Floyd and the conviction of Derek Chauvin, let me just touch on another topic that is disturbing me.  A coalition of news media outlets has asked the judge who oversaw the trial of Derek Chauvin to release the identities of jurors who convicted him in the death of George Floyd.  Attorneys for the coalition, which includes Fox ‘News’, the Associated Press, and even The Washington Post, is asking not only for the names of the jurors, which would be bad enough, but also for the juror profiles that would include such things as age, address, place of employment, etc.

Judge Peter Cahill had previously ordered the information sealed for the safety of the jurors.  Think about it … how many white supremacists were incensed by Chauvin’s conviction and sentencing to 22.5 years in prison?  How safe would you feel if you had been on that jury and one of these media outlets released your name to the public?

Attorney Leita Walker said the media and public have a right to information about a jury and said that that Chauvin’s trial is over “and there is no way that jurors’ fears of intimidation, harassment, or violence can unfairly impact their deliberations.” She also wrote that the coalition knows of no threat to any juror or prospective juror.  Well duh … did you think they would contact you and say “We plan to kill harass, intimidate, and kill the jurors, so give us their names”? She said the court’s desire to protect jurors from unwanted publicity or harassment are not grounds to keep their identities sealed under law, and that “much has changed” in the months since the jury rendered its verdict “and at this juncture, resistance to releasing their names appears based on little more than a desire to have them left alone.”

Make no mistake … I am all for freedom of the press, and transparency to the extent that it makes sense and is not endangering people.  However … jury duty is an important responsibility that ALL of us should take seriously, and most of us do.  We do not, however, undertake this responsibility in order to be harassed and intimidated, to feel that our lives are in danger.  Sorry, media, but this time you’re just plain wrong.

The U.S. Has Lost Its Collective Conscience

Today, I am deeply disappointed in a large portion of this nation.  Oh, there are many reasons, but my current angst is fueled by some responses I have read and heard to the testimony of the four police officers before the House Select Committee investigating the January 6th insurrection on Tuesday.

First, I would like to ask that you watch this 8-minute interview Don Lemon did with Officer Michael Fanone yesterday.  Lemon plays a clip of a voicemail that Officer Fanone received during the time he was testifying and … it is so vile, so disgusting, so cruel … but I think it’s important to understand how a certain segment of our society thinks.  My apologies, but I cannot embed this video, however here is the link:

Don Lemon interview with Officer Michael Fanone

Tragic and disgusting.  Officer Fanone and every other officer who defended the Capitol and protected our lawmakers on that day are heroes, and yet this is how we treat them???

And then there were a multitude of comments from a variety of sources.  I won’t give the people who uttered these comments the attention they seek by mentioning their names, only their words …

  • Corrections officers around the country get the shit kicked out of them and their faces slashed many times yearly by violent inmates, yet you never see any of them crying like a little bitches at congressional hearings.
  • I am shocked at the cowardice. They should be fired – not fit for duty.
  • Cowards all.
  • Did they not even practice their fake crying before this hearing?
  • Let’s hear the testimonies of the cops from Philadelphia, New York, Denver, Portland and all the other cities who had to deal with BLM/ANTIFA riots last summer.
  • What a pussy. “You guys won, you held.” Um, people weren’t there to do anything, they got bored and left. That’s because it wasn’t an insurrection and more than half the people there walked in open doors with the permission of the police.

Some of the people uttering this filth are our elected officials, others are media ‘personalities’.  But the comment that disturbed me the most, I think, came from one of my own readers, a man I consider a friend, Scott Lawlor …

“this was not an insurrection, it was mostly peaceful people going to make their voices heard on results they didn’t agree with. now, for the record, anyone who broke the law, which was a minority by the way, should absolutely be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

they took their grievances to the seat of power, which is a better thing to do than, oh, I don’t know, burn buildings, attack people and steal, like blm and antifa did last summer causing around 2 billion dollars in property damage. The democrats in this hearing are just a bunch of crybabies, you can tell the emotionalism is all fake and for show. We weren’t an hour away from marshal law, AOC wasn’t fearing for her life since she wasn’t even there, this is just all lies and propaganda by the democrat elites and the media to paint every single republican and conservative as a brainless white supremacist and I am sick and tired of the intollerence from these elitists who believe the narrative and continue to give voice to their obvious disdain for anyone who may thing differently from them.

It’s a free country and just as a progressive can say, write, and think anything they want, I have the freedom to disagree with those thoughts but it seems to me that it’s the democrats who are more intollerant than any conservatives I know.”

He then included a video put out by The Rubin Report titled “Shameful Theatrics” whereby Dave Rubin basically echoes what Scott said, only took far longer to say it.  I must admit that it seems to me people in this country no longer care about truth, about facts, about fairness and I despair for the future of this country.  People hear someone like Tucker Carlson or Dave Rubin giving their own distorted view of the facts, whether about the COVID vaccine or Black Lives Matter or voting rights or the January 6th insurrection (and yes, it WAS an insurrection!) and they become as parrots, chirping that opinion to others, mindless of the facts.

It is a pitiful reflection on a nation when facts are thrown in the trash and sensationalism becomes the norm, when heroes who save lives are denigrated, and when truth is mocked.

Still Recovering From The Hugs & Kisses …

Today, I would like to introduce you to two anomalies.  These are people, relatively young people, who serve in the U.S. Congress and are members of the Republican Party.  What, you ask, makes them an anomaly?  Two things:  they are intelligent and most importantly, they have a conscience.  Yes, a conscience … I know it’s hard to believe in this, the 21st century, the age of Republican far-right lunacy and conspiracy theories.  The two people I wish to introduce you to today are Liz Cheney, representative from Wyoming, and Adam Kinzinger, representative from Illinois.  They’ve both been in the news enough that you no doubt know their names.

They are, to the best of my knowledge, the only two congressional republicans who will be serving on the House Select Committee to investigate the events of and leading up to January 6th, the day insurgents attacked Congress and attempted to overthrow our election, our choice, our government.  Cheney and Kinzinger are not serving by appointment via House Minority Leader McCarthy, but they are serving voluntarily, because their conscience demands that they be a part of finding the truth.  Their goal is not, as Jim Jordan’s and Jim Banks’ would have been, to disrupt the proceedings, to whitewash the details, to bury the facts, and to play the “whaddaboutism” game, rather their goal is to find out who was involved in the planning of the attempted coup, who played a role in inciting and encouraging the ignorant masses who stormed the U.S. Capitol that day, and bring those people into the spotlight, bring them to justice.  Their goal is to ensure that such an event can never happen again, that the remnants of a democracy will not be turned to ash and buried.

As expected, GOP leaders, if they can be called such, are attacking Cheney and Kinzinger, accusing them of harboring an anti-Trump agenda and suggesting they’re just doing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s bidding. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy even debuted a new label on Monday, tagging Kinzinger and Cheney as “Pelosi Republicans.”  I wonder if he thinks this is funny?  If he does, then I am more convinced than ever that he has the mentality of a teenager sniggering behind the girls’ gym locker room.  Meanwhile, a growing number of House Republicans are clamoring for Kinzinger and Cheney to face internal consequences for accepting committee seats from Speaker Pelosi.  I guess in their case, political loyalties outweigh loyalty to country.

STOP!!!  This is not an US vs THEM contest!!!  Or is it?  The Democrats … nay, most of the people in this nation … want to know what happened, how it was that our very core of values, of governance, could come so close to toppling.  WE the PEOPLE want to know who, what, why, when, and HOW.  We want to know who in our government colluded, incited, and plotted against the voice of those of us who voted our conscience.  I think we can probably all guess most of them, but I want to see the irrefutable evidence, then I want the Department of Justice to see that they pay the price for their seditious actions.

On Tuesday, the select committee to investigate January 6th held its first hearings.  I haven’t yet watched the entire testimony of the four police officers who were called on to testify, but I have seen enough to break my heart.  In one clip I watched, Representative Cheney said, “You hear former president Trump say, ‘It was a loving crowd.  There was a lot of love in the crowd.’”  And then she asked Capitol Police Sgt. Aquilino Gonell, “How does that make you feel?”  His response …

“To me, it’s insulting, just demoralizing because of everything that we did to prevent everyone in the Capitol from getting hurt. And what he was doing, instead of sending the military, instead of sending the support or telling his people, his supporters, to stop this nonsense, he begged them to continue fighting. I’m still recovering from those hugs and kisses that day that he claimed.”

Officer Gonell stayed on duty, despite being injured, throughout the night, going home only after the votes were certified, around 4:00 a.m.  Despite pleas by his wife and his doctor, he continued to work for the next fifteen days, until finally his foot became so bad that he couldn’t get a shoe on, and then doctors had to fuse together the broken bones in his foot.  He will also need surgery on his shoulder.  Both of his hands were injured, and he suffered chemical burns on his skin from the spray that was used as a weapon against him.  And yet, he didn’t miss a day’s work.  Why?

“My sense of duty for the country, for the Constitution, at that time was bigger than even my love for my wife and my son.”

Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn said one group of rioters, perhaps 20 people, screamed the n-word at him as he was trying to keep them from breaching the House chamber — racial insults he said he had never experienced while in uniform. At the end of that day, he sat down in the Capitol Rotunda and sobbed …

“I became very emotional and began yelling, ’How the (expletive) can something like this happen?’ Is this America? My blood is red. I’m an American citizen. I’m a police officer. I’m a peace officer.

Four officers testified on Tuesday, two Capitol police officers and two officers with the D.C. police force.  One of the D.C. officers was Michael Fanone, who has been vocal about the events of that day … understandably, since he was brutally beaten, thrown down the stairs, tased, and suffered a heart attack, among other injuries.  Officer Fanone was understandably hurt and angry during his testimony and at one point slammed his fist on the table in front of him.…

“What makes the struggle harder and more painful is to know so many of my fellow citizens, including so many of the people I put my life at risk to defend are downplaying or outright denying what happened. I feel like I went to hell and back to protect them and the people in this room. Too many are now telling me that hell doesn’t exist or that hell actually wasn’t that bad. The indifference shown to my colleagues is disgraceful.”

I began this post talking about the courage of Representatives Cheney and Kinzinger.  After Tuesday’s testimony by the four officers, Adam Kinzinger was so overcome that he was near tears when he gave a tribute to the officers’ bravery …

“You guys may like individually feel a little broken. You guys all talk about the effects you have to deal with and, you know, you talk about the impact of that day, but you guys won. You guys held. You know, democracies are not defined by our bad days. We`re defined by how we come back from back from bad days.”

This picture tells you all you need to know about Liz Cheney’s reactions to their testimony.

Representative Liz Cheney hugs Officer Dunn after his testimony

We must find out who played a role, no matter how small, in the storming of the Capitol on January 6th, and those people must be removed from Congress, indicted, tried, and imprisoned.  Nothing less is acceptable. Sedition is a serious crime and frankly, we aren’t out of the woods yet, for many are calling January 6th simply a trial run.  As for the Republican’s hateful rhetoric … the press needs to stop covering it.  Full stop.  In reporting Kevin McCarthy’s and Louie Gohmert’s and others’ every word, they are fanning the flames.  We don’t need that.  We don’t give a rat’s ass what they have to say … we’re more interested in getting to the truth.

The GOP Madness … Doing Us A Favour?

Yesterday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rejected two of the Republican House members who had been appointed by Kevin McCarthy to sit on the committee to investigate the January 6th insurrection.  The two were Jim Jordan of Ohio and Jim Burns of Indiana, and Speaker Pelosi was well within her rights to reject them, for both had refused to certify the election results from the 2020 election, though there was no question whatsoever that President Biden had won by more than 7 million votes. Both attempted to stifle our votes, our voices.

McCarthy, who qualifies as one of the head clowns in the GOP circus, went ballistic and pulled the other three, the ones Pelosi had agreed to, off of the committee.  Fine by me, for his only goal was to be disruptive and ensure that the committee would be unable to conduct a full investigation as we need them to.  Why?  Why are Republicans so adamant that we not get to the bottom of an attack that threatened the democratic principles founded in the U.S. Constitution?  Because … they know the role that certain Republicans played in inciting and participating in the events of the day.  Some of those people carry the last name “Trump” and that is already a proven fact!  So, let’s cover it up … bury it so that they don’t have to try to justify their actions, justify their attempt to rob We the People of our voice … so that come November 2022, people will have forgotten the coup that almost was, and those who bear some responsibility for the events won’t have to answer awkward questions that might land them on the other side of the iron bars!

That said, Washington Post columnists Greg Sargent and Paul Waldman have collaborated on a piece that I think worthy of being shared.  For what little my opinion may be worth, I am 100% in agreement with these gentlemen …


How Kevin McCarthy is boosting the integrity of the Jan. 6 investigation

Opinion by Greg Sargent and Paul Waldman

21 July 2021; 5:08 p.m. EDT

We should be thankful that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) just pulled Republicans out of any involvement in the select committee to examine the Jan. 6 insurrection. In so doing, he ensured that the committee’s investigation will both have more integrity and be more likely to undertake a valuable accounting.

Which goes to a larger truth about this moment: Efforts at a real examination of arguably the worst outbreak of political violence in modern times — and efforts to protect our democracy more broadly — will not be bipartisan. These things will be done by Democrats alone.

McCarthy’s handling of the Jan. 6 committee illustrates the point. It comes after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced that she is nixing two of McCarthy’s picks to serve on it: Reps. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) and Jim Jordan (R-Ohio).

McCarthy mustered great outrage about this, railing that it was an “abuse of power” that had cost the committee “all legitimacy and credibility.”

In fact, precisely the opposite is true: By pulling out, McCarthy has boosted the committee’s legitimacy and credibility immeasurably. The less involved McCarthy is with this committee, the more likely it will be to undertake a genuine and comprehensive accounting.

McCarthy’s picks were expressly designed to prevent that accounting. This is not speculation or a mere guess at McCarthy’s motives. It is unavoidably clear from the public statements and conduct of Banks and Jordan themselves.

Banks’s first act on getting named by McCarthy was to release a statement declaring that the committee must investigate the “hundreds of violent political riots” in which “many more innocent Americans and law-enforcement officers were attacked.”

That’s an explicit declaration that the insurrection and Donald Trump’s incitement of it should not be the focus of the committee and is a less serious matter than those riots.

Similarly, after Jordan was picked, he immediately declared he wants to serve on the committee because “this is impeachment round three,” unwittingly revealing — or perhaps unabashedly declaring — that he saw his role as solely a means for working to exonerate Trump.

What’s more, Jordan had already played a prominent role in spreading the very lies about the 2020 election that helped inspire the insurrection the committee will be investigating. Given that the committee is charged with probing the causes of the violence — and that those lies are a major cause — any real accounting must also implicate Republicans such as Jordan.

On top of all this, remember that McCarthy could have exercised even more control over the investigation — yet declined. Back in May, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), the Homeland Security Committee chair, announced an agreement with the ranking Republican on an evenly divided 10-member bipartisan commission, with both parties having veto power over subpoenas.

Guess who voted against that commission? McCarthy, Banks and Jordan did.

All three also voted to object to President Biden’s electors, a vote that represented the culmination of the lies this committee will investigate as a cause of the violence.

There’s another hidden dynamic here, too: McCarthy and Jordan are very likely witnesses themselves. McCarthy made a frantic appeal to Trump to call off the rioters; he likely has firsthand experience of Trump’s truly sociopathic and insurrectionist intentions that day.

And Jordan was present in a Dec. 21 White House meeting with Trump and others, at which they discussed how to overturn Biden’s electors on the day of what would become the insurrection. What was said at that meeting will be of great interest to the committee.

“Anyone who is a material witness to the key events leading up to the Jan. 6 insurrection doesn’t really belong on the committee,” Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), a member of the select committee, told us.

“The investigative inquiry is being shaped right now,” Raskin continued, “but those are likely to be key events in the chronology.”

Here’s the bottom line: By nixing Banks and Jordan, Pelosi actually protected the integrity of the committee’s investigation, from their openly advertised intention to misdirect, disrupt and sabotage it. By appointing publicly committed saboteurs, McCarthy openly advertised the same intention.

The conventions of political reporting are such that this basic and obvious truth will not be faithfully rendered in press accounts. But it follows from a straightforward interpretation of the statements and conduct of those Republicans themselves.

A View From North Of The Border

Last week I did a post based on Charles M. Blow’s column titled “Welcome to Jim Crow 2.0” about the history of racism in this nation and how, with the current wave of voter suppression laws targeting mainly Blacks, this nation seems to have made a U-turn and is heading back to the days of slavery, of segregation, of “separate but equal”, of “sit in the back of the bus”, of racist horror.

My post inspired our friend rawgod, a Canadian, to not only share my post, but to share his views from a Canadian perspective.  Y’know … I have often said that those who live outside the U.S. can often see our situation more clearly than we ourselves do, and … well, rawgod’s post gives voice to my claim, I think, as well of giving us some insight into racism in his own country.  Please give his words some consideration … think about it …

THE HISTORY OF SYSTEMIC RACISM — WHAT WE ARE NOT TAUGHT IN CANADIAN SCHOOLS

When I was a K-12 student in Canada in the 50s and 60s, I was taught a lot of American history, along with a lot of British history, and a good smattering of world history. Our educators told us we had one of the best history curriculums in the world. And we believed those educators. Certainly we learned more about Americans than they learned about Canadians. What we did not know, what our educators never told us, is that what we were learning was White American history, indeed, White World history. While some mention was made of slavery, and the struggle of the Negro to gain equality, it was bare basics. Everything we were taught glorified America, and was intended to make us look up to Americans. I hate to admit it, being a person of colour in Canada, red, I had no idea how badly White Americans treated Black Americans. At that time there was no mention of people of other colours. While we were told there were brown and yellow people in the world, we were never taught much about them except as they interacted with White Canada, and White America and White Europe, especially White Britain. There were Black and Asian Canadians where I grew up in Winnipeg, but we learned little about them, other than that they were now Canadians, and so worthy of our respect and acceptance. In schools we were not taught to hate. What we were taught at home will not be discussed here at this time. Suffice it to say, we were taught it did not matter what colour people were, we were all equal, at least in theory.

… Read more of this post

We Will NOT Forget!

Y’know … if someone breaks into my home or place of business, causes massive damage, and threatens my life, I am going to find that person or persons and they are going to pay a hefty price.  It’s that simple.  No, I’m not going to say, “Oh well, no harm done, it was just a normal day.”  No, I’m not going to say, “Oh well, what’s done is done and now I need to just move on with my life.”  No, I am going to say, “Let’s find the sons of bitches that did this and make sure they never see the light of day again except from behind steel bars, never have the opportunity to do this to somebody else again.”  For at the end of the day, criminals who are not captured, not punished, not even pursued, gain strength, gain momentum and confidence, and their next crime – make no mistake, there will be a next one – will be even more heinous than the last.

Yes, of course I am referring to the attacks on Congress and the Capitol on January 6th, attacks that were fully intended to overthrow our votes and what democratic foundations remain in our government.  Now, you may say that more than 500 people have been arrested in connection with the attack, but I would argue those people, for the most part, were pawns.  They were masses of largely uneducated, ignorant people who were looking for a fight, who had been riled into a feeding frenzy by others in positions of power.  Yes, they should pay for their crimes, for their participation with both prison time and fines, but the people I want to see arrested and made to pay most are those who had any role, no matter how small, in masterminding the plot.

Thus far, even before the House investigation has begun, before the FBI or Department of Justice have completed their investigation, we know of certain key people who were involved, including Rudy Giuliani, Michael Flynn, Don Junior, Ali Alexander and others who met on January 5th at the Willard Hotel in D.C. to coordinate and work out the final details.  Why are they walking around free?  Lock ‘em up!!!

The Republicans would like this to just go away, would like to sweep it under their proverbial very dirty carpet, but we will not forget!  We will not let the “American” public forget!  You may get sick and tired of reading about this on Filosofa’s Word, and for that I apologize, but this is too important not to keep up the momentum, to keep it fresh in the minds of the people of this country all the way up through November 8th, 2022 – the date of the mid-term elections when members of Congress, some of whom are guilty of having a role in plotting or encouraging the insurrection, will be seeking votes in the mid-term elections. The media must also do its job and keep the pressure up on those investigating, must keep the events of that day fresh in the minds of the public.

Josh Hawley, representative from the “show-me” state of Missouri;  Lauren Boebert, representative from the state of Colorado; Margie Greene, representative from Georgia; Kevin McCarthy, House Minority Leader from the state of California; Paul Gosar, representative from the state of Arizona;  Louie Gohmert, representative from the state of Texas – all these people must surely be under investigation for their roles, no matter how seemingly insignificant, in the attempted overthrow of the 2020 election and by extension, our very foundation.

How can we simply forget about what happened and what might have been had it not been for the poor planning of the fools who stormed the Capitol, and the actions of the Capitol Police and others?  How can we simply shrug our shoulders and move on?  If somebody attempted to murder your daughter, would you forget about it?  No, and neither can we forget that many ‘somebodies’ tried to murder our nation.   No, this is not an exaggeration … had the insurgents accomplished what they set out to do, President Biden would not likely be sitting in the Oval Office today, certain key legislators would likely be dead, and this nation would likely be under strict martial law.

So no, Kevin McCarthy, Mitch McConnell … we will not forget!  We will not sit down and shut up!  We the People demand answers!  We demand that we receive a full briefing of every single person who had any involvement at any level!  As we said after 9/11:  We Will NOT Forget!

DON’T Take It For Granted

The Republican Party lives in a fairy-tale world, one where reality has no place.  They don’t want to hear those realities that might awaken their sleeping consciences and make it uncomfortable for them to proceed with their platform of obstruction and lies.

The most recent example came yesterday when the 50 Republican senators voted against even discussing the For the People Act that would have ensured the right to vote for every eligible person in the U.S.  They wouldn’t even discuss it!  Why?  Because they might hear some valid reasons that this bill is the best thing for the people of the United States.  The bill is extremely popular among voters, even those in the Republican Party, but no no non nunca nyet!  What We the People need and want has zero relevance to the Republicans in Congress.  The fewer people vote, the more likely the Republicans can hold onto, or even increase, their power in Congress, thus their power to rule with an iron fist.

But this wasn’t the first time the Republican Party has interfered with our rights …

Last month, the Republican Party blocked the formation of a January 6th commission to investigate the events and what led up to the attack on Congress on January 6th of this year.  Wouldn’t you think they would want to know who the key players are, who put their lives and the very foundation of our government in danger?  But no, they do not want to be confronted with the evidence.  Why?  Because the truth will implicate some of them and will prick the conscience of others, making them look differently at their colleagues, perhaps even making them question the lack of values in their party.  Right, Kevin McCarthy?

Going back a few months further to February, the former guy was impeached by the House of Representatives a second time, this time for his role in inciting the attacks of January 6th.  When the Senate held a trial to determine if he should be convicted (typically, this trial would also determine whether to remove him from office, but as he had already been voted out, that was a moot point), the then-Republican-dominated Senate refused to allow the impeachment lawyers to call witnesses!  They refused to even hear the evidence – and yes, there was plenty of it – against the former guy because … then they might have to dust off those sleeping consciences and for once in their time in office, actually do the right thing.

Where does all this leave us?  The Republicans have a chokehold on Congress … nothing, I repeat NOTHING that helps shore up the democratic foundations of this nation and hold people accountable for their actions will be allowed.  Nothing that helps secure our constitutional rights, such as the right to vote and participate in our government, will be allowed.  Nothing that helps those in our nation who are struggling and need help will be allowed.

Last week, China raided the offices and froze the accounts of Hong Kong’s popular pro-freedom newspaper, Apple Daily.  They also arrested five of the paper’s top editors and warned the citizens of Hong Kong not to repost articles from the paper.  Today, with no choice left, the paper announced that it is closing.  I strongly suspect that the Republicans in the United States Congress look at China’s hold over Hong Kong and drool, for they lust after just such power and control.

Today in the United States, we still have a free press, and because we do, the events of January 6th are being investigated and eventually we will have the answers as to who participated in the planning of the attack.  Because we do still have a free press, we are almost immediately informed when the Republicans in the Senate do something unconscionable like refuse to even discuss a bill to fortify our voting rights.  And because we have a free press, those who would like to turn this into a nation that is ruled rather than governed must watch what they say and do.  Yes, we still have a free press … today.  But don’t … DO NOT take it for granted, because given enough power in certain places, it could be taken away someday — perhaps sooner than you think.

It is up to We the People to vote next year to remove the poison that is infecting our lawmaking body, the U.S. Congress.  Yes, we need two viable parties that can come to the table to discuss issues and compromise such that we end up with laws that, while not perfect, are in the best interest of the nation.  However, the Republican Party is no longer a viable party, but rather a party attempting to seize control for purposes that will not benefit us. The Republican Party has become dictatorial in nature and that is NOT in the best interest of anyone, except perhaps a few very wealthy people.