Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down

Good grief!  Have the Republicans in Congress completely lost their bloody minds?  On Friday, the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill that has been the source of much haggling for months finally passed in the House.  It would not have passed this time either, had it not been for 13 Republicans who stepped up to the plate and put the best interests of the people ahead of the Republican Party.

  • Don Bacon of Nebraska
  • Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania
  • Andrew Garbarino of New York
  • Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio
  • John Katko of New York
  • Adam Kinzinger of Illinois
  • Nicole Malliotakis of New York
  • David McKinley of West Virginia
  • Tom Reed of New York
  • Chris Smith of New Jersey
  • Fred Upton of Michigan
  • Jeff van Drew of New Jersey
  • Don Young of Alaska

Filosofa gives a huge thumbs-up to these 13 men and women!  👍

But then came the repercussions from the circus show otherwise known as the GOP, or the Republican Party.  A sampling …

  • “I can’t believe Republicans just gave the Democrats their socialism bill” — Matt Gaetz  👎
  • “That 13 House Republicans provided the votes needed to pass this is absurd” — Chip Roy  👎
  • “Vote for this infrastructure bill and I will primary the hell out of you” — Madison Cawthorn  👎
  • Says ol’ Margie Greene … any Republican who voted for the bill would be “a traitor to our party, a traitor to their voters and a traitor to our donors.” After the vote, she accused the 13 of having voted to “pass Joe Biden’s Communist takeover of America” and tweeted the phone numbers to their congressional offices.  👎👎

It becomes obvious that either a) these people have no idea what ‘infrastructure’ is, or b) they don’t care if people are killed on crumbling roadways and bridges, if the people of this nation have clean, safe, drinking water, and more.  My best guess is the latter explanation … the Republican Party no longer gives a damn about their constituents or about the people who pay their salaries … they care only about their own power and wealth.

Six Democrats voted against the bill, but you don’t hear other Democrats deriding them and calling them names.  Just goes to show the difference in the level of maturity, don’t you think?

A number of Republicans are either leaving the party or deciding not to run again next year because they are ashamed of what the party has become and no longer wish to be associated with it.  While I fully understand their logic and cannot argue to the contrary, perhaps it would be better for the country if those few who still have a conscience stayed in the party and tried to make a difference.  We’ll never know.

The Republican Party has become something that would make the Founding Fathers roll over in their graves.  The only way they will change is if the most radical of them are voted out of office.  There was a time when I thought the vast majority of people in this country were too smart to fall for some of the crap the GOP is dishing out, but today I’m not so sure.

Being Awful a Prerequisite for GOP

I have not been up to reading blogs for several weeks now, but lying awake at 4:00 a.m., I decided to read this one of Jeff’s, for the title intrigued me. What Jeff says here is spot on and echoes my own thoughts exactly, only he says it far better than I could. Thank you, Jeff!

On The Fence Voters

Growing up in Northeast Ohio in the 1960s and 70s, one thing my mother always taught me was to be polite. Yes, the golden rule is what many call the practice: Treat others as you wish to be treated. I’ve tried my level best to adhere to that mindset my entire life. Maybe I’ve fallen short here and there, but when I depart this earth at some point, I’ll have no regrets that I fulfilled my mom’s hope for her youngest son.

I’m beginning to wonder if the golden rule is slowly slipping away from us as a society. We don’t seem to care for our fellow human beings as we should. When you think about it, we’re not on this earth for a very long time. Why wouldn’t we at least make an honest effort to make it a more hospitable and friendly place?

When it comes to the…

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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.

A Bit Of This And A Tad Of That

A number of things are flitting across my radar tonight … nothing very major, just little things. Overall, I am enjoying the professionalism that is coming from the Biden administration.  No hateful tweets, no ‘breaking news’ parroting what the prez has said/tweeted/eaten in the past 30 minutes.  We once again have intelligence and compassion in the White House and I am comforted by that.  But, of course, that doesn’t mean I can’t find something about which to snark!

Some Republicans have sense!

I am neither a Democrat nor a Republican, though I lean strongly toward the ideology of the Democratic Party and if I didn’t prefer my Independent status, I would almost certainly register as a Democrat.  In fact, I’ve strongly considered doing so, but … I really don’t want the bombardment of emails and phone calls that any political party subjects its registrants to.  That said, I have absolutely no use for the ideologies of today’s Republican Party, for they seem to be aligned with conspiracy theories and policies that place profit over people and that are largely bigoted in so many ways.  I do, however, subscribe to one Republican newsletter that I find has merit and has led me to believe that there are still at least a few sane heads in the Republican Party.

The newsletter is published by Sarah Longwell of Republicans for The Rule of Law, and while quite often I only give it a cursory glance, yesterday’s had something that I found very satisfying.

Today, we launched a new $1 million campaign to support the 17 courageous Republicans in Congress who voted to impeach and convict Trump. We are putting TV ads and billboards in their home states and districts, thanking them for doing the right thing.

It’s hard to overstate the risk many of these men and women took when they voted to hold Trump accountable. Most are already facing attacks from Trump and his supporters, and many will have to deal with well-funded primary challengers when they run for reelection.

The only way to protect our democracy is to engage voters directly, and this new campaign does just that.

Now is the time to stick up for all Republicans who did the right thing, whether they’re retiring this year or facing the fight for their political lives in the next. Now is the time to let America know that we refuse to cede the Republican Party to Trump and Trumpism.

Sarah Longwell

Executive Director, Republican Accountability Project

Here are a few of the billboards they have erected around the country …

And one of the 30-second television ads …

If the GOP has a future, and I find that very much in doubt at this stage, its future lies with these men and women who do not put party loyalty above their Oaths of Office, do not pander to the wealthy and criminals in the party at the expense of the people of this nation.  Thumbs up to this group of conscionable and conscientious Republicans!


How the hell did he get here?

cawthorn-2Madison Cawthorn is his name, and he is only 25 years of age … younger than my granddaughter … yet he is a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from the state of North Carolina.  Cawthorn is the youngest person to serve in Congress since Jed Johnson, Jr., who served a single term from 1965-1967.  I think that perhaps Mr. Cawthorn won on a sympathy vote – due to an auto accident, he is partially paralyzed and uses a wheelchair – for he damn sure didn’t win on intellect.

Just a few of Cawthorn’s faux pas …

  • In 2017, Cawthorn posted an Instagram picture of his visit to Adolf Hitler’s vacation residence Eagle’s Nest, which he said had been on his “bucket list for awhile”. In the post, he called Hitler Führer, a German term meaning “leader”. When he came under fire for the post during his 2020 campaign, he deleted it.
  • During his election bid, Cawthorn’s campaign created an attack website which criticized journalist Tom Fiedler, who had produced investigative pieces on Cawthorn and had written favorably about his opponent. The website accused Fiedler of leaving academia “to work for non-white males, like Cory Booker, who aims to ruin white males running for office.” 🤨
  • Before Trump supporters stormed the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021, Cawthorn addressed the crowd and said, “this crowd has some fight.” He voted not to certify the Electoral College results in Congress and called Republicans who voted to certify the results “spineless cowards”.

I’ve known some pretty sharp 25-year-olds in my day, but this kid is not among them.  There have been a number of allegations of sexual misconduct against Mr. Cawthorn, though none have filed charges so far.

His latest episode of lunacy, though, came today when he saw a tweet saying that the Vatican is requiring all personnel to receive the vaccine or lose their jobs …

cawthorn

So, apparently he isn’t quite clear on what the Vatican is, or thinks that somehow the U.S. has jurisdiction over it.  Not criminal, of course, but foolish and it shows his lack of understanding, lack of education, and lack of being mature enough to hold a seat in Congress, the lawmaking branch of our government.  Frighteningly, he serves on the House Committee on Education and Labour.  We surely do not need him helping to shape our policies on education!

Like Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert, I suspect young Cawthorn will be a single-term representative, so perhaps he should be thinking about what he’d like to do with the rest of his life.

So It Doesn’t Happen Again …

I would think that the Republican Party, aka GOP, upon seeing the party’s reputation turned from a once respectable political organization to a circus act would welcome the opportunity to do some housecleaning.  Today begins the impeachment trial for Donald Trump, and the republicans in the Senate have an opportunity to show the people of this nation that they do not condone treachery and violence from a member of their group who held the highest office in the land.  Will they do the right thing and begin to repair the damage of the last four years?

Adam Kinzinger is a Republican representative from the state of Illinois, one of ten GOP members of the House who voted to impeach Donald Trump last month.  He has important words for his fellow Republicans in an OpEd in The Washington Post that should be heeded by the Senate when it comes time to vote to convict or acquit Trump.


My fellow Republicans, convicting Trump is necessary to save America

Adam-KinzingerOpinion by Adam Kinzinger

Feb. 8, 2021 at 6:00 p.m. EST

Winston Churchill famously said, “Those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it.” All Americans, but especially my fellow Republicans, should remember this wisdom during the Senate’s trial of former president Donald Trump.

I say this as a lifelong Republican who voted to impeach Trump last month. Virtually all my colleagues on the right side of the aisle took the opposite path. Most felt it was a waste of time — political theater that distracted from bigger issues. The overwhelming majority of Senate Republicans appear to feel the same way about conviction.

But this isn’t a waste of time. It’s a matter of accountability. If the GOP doesn’t take a stand, the chaos of the past few months, and the past four years, could quickly return. The future of our party and our country depends on confronting what happened — so it doesn’t happen again.

The immediate cause for Trump’s impeachment was Jan. 6. But the president’s rally and resulting riot on Capitol Hill didn’t come out of nowhere. They were the result of four-plus years of anger, outrage and outright lies. Perhaps the most dangerous lie — or at least the most recent — was that the election was stolen. Of course it wasn’t, but a huge number of Republican leaders encouraged the belief that it was. Every time that lie was repeated, the riots of Jan. 6 became more likely.

Even now, many Republicans refuse to admit what happened. They continue to feed anger and resentment among the people. On Jan. 6, that fury led to the murder of a Capitol Police officer and the deaths of four other Americans. If that rage is still building, where does it go from here?

Impeachment offers a chance to say enough is enough. It ought to force every American, regardless of party affiliation, to remember not only what happened on Jan. 6, but also the path that led there. After all, the situation could get much, much worse — with more violence and more division that cannot be overcome. The further down this road we go, the closer we come to the end of America as we know it.

The Republican Party I joined as a young man would never take that road. The GOP that inspired me to serve in uniform and then run for public office believed a brighter future was just around the bend. We stood for equal opportunity, firm in our conviction that a poor kid from the South Side of Chicago deserves the same shot as a privileged kid from Highland Park. We knew that if we brought everyone into America’s promise, we would unleash a new era of American progress and prosperity. Outrage and the fear of a darker future were nowhere to be found in that Republican Party.

When leaders such as Donald Trump changed that dynamic, many of my fellow Republicans went along without question. Many are still there because they believe the rank-and-file Republican voter is there, too. But I think that’s an illusion. The anger and outrage are drowning out the much larger group of people who reject that approach. Worse, many have gone silent because they assume the party’s leaders no longer represent them. They’re waiting for leaders who will say what they know is true.

Since my vote to impeach Trump, I’ve heard from tens of thousands of my constituents. Their reaction has been overwhelmingly supportive. Republicans of all backgrounds and outlooks have told me they appreciate my efforts to return the GOP to a foundation of principle, not personality. I’ve even heard from many Democrats. They don’t agree with me on a lot of issues, but they want the Republican Party to be healthy and competitive.

I firmly believe the majority of Americans — Republican, Democrat, independent, you name it — reject the madness of the past four years. But we’ll never move forward by ignoring what happened or refusing to hold accountable those responsible. That will embolden the few who led us here and dishearten the many who know America is better than this. It will make it more likely that we see more anger, violence and chaos in the years ahead.

The better path is to learn the lessons of the recent past. Convicting Donald Trump is necessary to save America from going further down a sad, dangerous road.

impeachment