Chilling

Michael A. Bolton is the Inspector General for the Capitol Police.  On Tuesday, Mr. Bolton released a 104-page report about the horrific attack by domestic terrorists on the U.S. Capitol on January 6th, and this report is … jaw-dropping.  We were told, shortly after the attack, that there had been forewarning of what was to come, that calls for help were largely ignored, but the details are far worse than even I imagined. 

Three key takeaways from this report are:

  • There was evidence of what was to come, but the Capitol Police leadership ignored or disregarded the intelligence warnings.
  • Department leaders ordered a special crowd-control unit not to use its most powerful nonlethal weapons to stop the protestors.
  • The protective equipment Capitol officers were given that day was defective, and additional equipment such as shields were under lock and key, could not be accessed.

All three of these points are, in my book, criminal.  If I were Nancy Pelosi or Mike Pence, who damn near lost their lives to the deranged mob that day, I would be mad as hell.  If I were any one of the 140 Capitol Police officers who were injured that day, I’d be fighting mad.  If I were the family of Officer Brian Sicknick who was murdered that day, I’d be out for blood.  Here are a few tidbits from the report that I think you’ll find interesting …

  • The Department of Homeland Security warned the Capitol Police on December 21st, more than two weeks before that fateful day, of comments on a pro-Trump website promoting attacks on members of Congress with a map of the tunnel system. “Several comments promote confronting members of Congress and carrying firearms during the protest,” wrote a Capitol Police analyst.  Among the comments reported to the Capitol Police: “Bring guns. It’s now or never,” and, “We can’t give them a choice. Overwhelming armed numbers is our only chance.”
  • On January 5th, the FBI’s Norfolk field office, in Virginia, relayed another threat from an anonymous social media thread that warned of a looming war at the Capitol. “Be ready to fight. Congress needs to hear glass breaking, doors being kicked in, and blood from their BLM and Pantifa slave soldiers being spilled. Get violent … stop calling this a march, or rally, or a protest. Go there ready for war. We get our President or we die. NOTHING else will achieve this goal.”
  • The January 5th threat assessment said, “Unlike previous postelection protests, the targets of the pro-Trump supporters are not necessarily the counterprotesters as they were previously, but rather Congress itself is the target on the 6th. Stop the Steal’s propensity to attract white supremacists, militia members, and others who actively promote violence may lead to a significantly dangerous situation for law enforcement and the general public alike.”

Are you chilled yet?  Are you angry yet?  But wait … there’s more.

On January 5th, after receiving the aforementioned assessments, the agency wrote in a plan for the protest that there were “no specific known threats related to the joint session of Congress.” And the former chief of the Capitol Police has testified that the force had determined that the likelihood of violence was “improbable.”  SAY WHAT???  Any fool reading the FBI threat assessment would consider the likelihood of violence to be an almost absolute certainty! 

Civil Disturbance Unit (CDU), which specializes in handling large groups of protesters, was not allowed to use some of its most powerful tools and techniques against the crowd, on the orders of supervisors.  “Heavier, less-lethal weapons,” including stun grenades, “were not used that day because of orders from leadership,” Mr. Bolton wrote. Officials on duty on Jan. 6 told him that such equipment could have helped the police to “push back the rioters.”

Some of the shields that officers were equipped with during the riot “shattered upon impact” because they had been improperly stored in a trailer that was not climate-controlled, Mr. Bolton found. Others could not be used by officers in desperate need of protection because the shields were locked on a bus.

“When the crowd became unruly, the C.D.U. platoon attempted to access the bus to distribute the shields but were unable because the door was locked.  The platoon ‘was consequently required to respond to the crowd without the protection of their riot shields.’”

In light of this and more, it is a thousand wonders that more people did not die on that day.  It is nothing short of a miracle that no member of Congress was even injured.  Apparently, we have to be thankful that the attackers weren’t all that bright or well-organized, else we might be living in an entirely different country today. 

Two thoughts are at the forefront of my mind after reading about this:

  • I wonder when evidence will be found that inextricably links the former ‘president’ to the orders to lock up equipment, to downplay the threat, and to order the police not to use crowd control equipment. You’ll note I said I wonder “when”, not I wonder “if”, for there is not a shred of doubt in my mind that the former guy had a heavy hand in trying to make it easier for the attackers to do maximum damage. 
  • There have been reports that certain groups are planning another attack on the Capitol on the day that President Biden addresses a joint session of Congress for the first time. He is scheduled to do so in less than two weeks, on April 28th.  I damn sure hope the Capitol Police and every federal law enforcement agency are on hand to protect Congress and our President. The joint session will be designated a National Special Security Event and there will be a limit on the number of lawmakers in the chamber. Lawmakers will also be seated in the upstairs gallery in addition to the House floor and guests will not be permitted.

This afternoon, Inspector General Bolton will present his report to Congress at a hearing on Capitol Hill.  His full report is classified and not available to the public, but if you’re interested, you can access his prepared remarks for the hearing. 

A Republican Voice …

I have shared Michael Gerson’s opinions before, for he is one of the few in the Republican Party who isn’t a far-right extremist but rather is both intelligent and honest.  I was impressed by his honest assessment of the Republican Party in his column yesterday and thought it well worth sharing.  While I would disagree with Mr. Gerson on a few things, I respect his opinions for they are not based in hatred and bigotry, but rather genuine conviction.

Michael Gerson is a republican op-ed columnist for The Washington Post who served as President George W. Bush’s chief speechwriter from 2001 until June 2006, as a senior policy advisor from 2000 through June 2006, and was a member of the White House Iraq Group.


Ron Johnson isn’t a Republican outlier

Opinion by 

Michael Gerson

Columnist

March 22, 2021 at 3:46 p.m. EDT

A political movement will either police its extremes or be defined by them.

Disapproval from opponents is easy to dismiss as mere partisanship. It is through self-criticism that a political party defines and patrols the boundaries of its ideological sanity.

This is the reason the case of Sen. Ron Johnson (Wis.) remains so instructive and disturbing. Johnson is a Republican who prefers his racism raw. He recently described the majority-White crowd protesting on Jan. 6 (some of whom stormed the Capitol and assaulted police officers) as “people that love this country, that truly respect law enforcement, would never do anything to break the law.” Meanwhile, he would have been “concerned” by an approaching crowd of “tens of thousands of Black Lives Matter and antifa protesters.” So: Whites who propagate a destructive lie, attack the democratic process and commit violence are Johnson’s kind of people; African Americans who protest a history of injustice are a scary horde.

There have always been bigots with access to a microphone. But in this case, Johnson did not face the hygienic repudiation of his party. Republican leaders preferred a different strategy: putting their fingers in their ears and humming loudly. Republicans have abolished their ideological police.

The reason is simple. After four years of Donald Trump, Johnson’s sentiments are not out of the Republican mainstream. They are an application of the prevailing Republican ideology — that the “real” America is under assault by the dangerous other: Violent immigrants. Angry Blacks. Antifa terrorists. Suspicious Muslims. And don’t forget “the China virus.”

Trump did not create such views. But he normalized them in an unprecedented fashion. Under Trump’s cover, this has been revealed as the majority position of Republicans, or at least engaged, activist Republicans. A recent New York Times poll found 65 percent of people who identify with the GOP to still be Trump “die-hards,” Trump “boosters” or captive to conspiracy theories. And most of the rest find nothing disqualifying in Trump’s pathologically divisive performance as president.

Our country faces many crises. But our nation’s politics has a single, overriding challenge: One of the United States’ venerable, powerful political parties has been overtaken by people who make resentment against outsiders the central element of their appeal. Inciting fear is not an excess of their zeal; it is the substance of their cause.

This has left some of us politically disoriented. I am pro-life. For me, this has always been the natural application of a humane historical trend: The United States’ gradually expanding circle of legal inclusion and protection. You may disagree with me, but I believe there is a logical moral progression that leads from abolitionism to the civil rights movement to the protection of the disabled and unborn.

Yet it is precisely this progression that’s being denied in today’s GOP. Claiming that discrimination is an illusion, that White people are the true victims, that diversity is a threat and that the American way of life is really identical to the good old days of White dominance — these are not just mistaken policy views, like being wrong on entitlement reform or tax policy. They are the fundamental failure of empathy, the triumph of dangerous historical lies and the violation of the highest objectives of politics: the advance of equal justice and human dignity.

It is one thing to be involved in policing the excesses of an ideological movement. It is another task entirely to persuade the large majority of an ideological movement to adopt the basic rules of morality and humanity. In the first case, the Republican Party is a flawed instrument of good. In the second case, it is a source of dangerous dehumanization that gets a few important things right.

The stakes could hardly be higher. Politics does not directly determine the morality of citizens. But it helps shape the system of social cues and stigmas in which citizens operate. It matters whether leaders delegitimize hatred or fertilize it; if they isolate prejudice or mainstream it. If political figures base their appeal on the cultivation of resentment for some group or groups, they are releasing deadly toxins into our society without any idea who might be harmed or killed. Such elected leaders might not have blood on their hands directly, but they are creating a society with more bloody hands.

I am still finding it difficult to fully embrace the Democratic Party, which denies the American progression toward justice and inclusion in other ways. But I could not advise an idealistic and ambitious young person to join today’s GOP because her ambition would be likely to destroy her idealism. Most Republican leaders can no longer be trusted with the moral education of the young on the central moral challenge of our history. Elected Republicans who are not bigots are generally cowards in the face of bigotry. And that is a shocking, horrible thing.

One Very Ugly Man

There are, according to the NPR database, now 49 people affiliated with either the military or law enforcement who have been arrested for their role in the attack on the Capitol and Congress on January 6th.  The very people in whose hands we have placed our lives, played a role in an attempt to take away our lives.  For make no mistake, if their mission had been successful, I likely would not be writing this blog post today and we would almost certainly have a cruel, evil dictator at the helm in Washington.

No, I’m not over-dramatizing.  What did you think the former guy planned to do if his planned insurrection had succeeded, killing Mike Pence, Nancy Pelosi, and throwing out our votes?  Did you think he would have been able to continue as a president, that Congress would simply overlook it all and that it would have been “business as usual”?  Think again.

One of those with military connections is this man …

Hale-Cusanelli

Timothy Louis Hale-Cusanelli was arrested on January 17th and charged with Civil Disorder; Aiding and Abetting; Obstruction of an Official Proceeding; Entering and Remaining in a Restricted Building or Grounds; Impeding Ingress and Egress in a Restricted Building; Disorderly Conduct in a Capitol Building; Parading, Demonstrating, or Picketing in a Capitol Building.

Hale-Cusanelli is a sergeant in the Army Reserve, serving in the 174th Infantry Brigade out of Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey, according to the Army.  It was initially reported that he was discharged after his arrest and barred from Weapons Station Earle, where he works, but later information from Army Reserve Strategic Communications said that “leadership is reviewing the case and that administrative action has not been taken.”

According to The Washington Post

Arguing in a Friday filing that Hale-Cusanelli should remain in pretrial detention, the U.S. attorney’s office in D.C. released parts of interviews with his co-workers at the Naval base. Several of the nearly four dozen Navy service members and contractors told Naval Criminal Investigative Service agents that Hale-Cusanelli was a white supremacist.

One Navy petty officer alleged that Hale-Cusanelli once said, “Hitler should have finished the job,” according to the filing.

A Navy seaman told investigators that he heard Hale-Cusanelli say that “babies born with any deformities or disabilities should be shot in the forehead” and that if he were a Nazi, “he would kill all the Jews and eat them for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and he wouldn’t need to season them because the salt from their tears would make it flavorful enough,” prosecutors disclosed.

Another petty officer said Hale-Cusanelli referred to Black people in profane, dehumanizing terms, according to the document.

Multiple co-workers remembered seeing Hale-Cusanelli’s mustache shaved to look like the short mustache Hitler wore, including a supervisor who admonished him for it. Photos on his phone obtained by federal agents showed his hair cut in a way reminiscent of Hitler’s hair, including selfies taken at work. Other images on his phone portrayed Hitler saving White Americans from the Republican and Democratic parties and contained “statistics” to “bolster his assertions that the ‘white race’ was superior,” according to prosecutors.

At issue this week is whether he should be released from jail pending the conclusion of the investigation and a trial.  From my point of view, there is no question that he is a menace and should remain in jail, but his lawyer argues to the contrary, and even prosecutors have said that the interviews, as well as racist and offensive photos and cartoons found on Hale-Cusanelli’s phone, are not legal grounds to halt his release.  They do, however, argue for his continued imprisonment on the grounds that the ideology is a driving force behind his aspiration for a “civil war,” making him a danger to the community.

One of Hale-Cusanelli’s supervisors, Sergeant John Getz, told agents that Hale-Cusanelli would walk up to new people and ask, “‘You’re not Jewish, are you?’” with a demeanor that was “joking but not.” Getz said he knew Hale-Cusanelli was a Nazi sympathizer and Holocaust denier, but that he did not mention it in the letter he submitted to the court because he was not personally offended by Hale-Cusanelli.  NOT PERSONALLY OFFENDED???  I’m personally offended and I’ve never met the guy!

This and many like him are the ones Senator Ron Johnson calls ‘patriots’.  They are anything but patriots … they are domestic terrorists and it’s time to call them such.  Why hasn’t he been dishonourably discharged from the Army Reserves and why is there even any consideration of letting him out of jail before his trial?

That there are even people like this in the world fills me with despair these days.  Life is short, the world is on the brink of a climate catastrophe, and people are willing to kill others because they consider themselves superior based on the colour of their skin.  WHY???  Imagine, if everyone worked together without hatred what we might accomplish in this world.  But instead, we waste time, money, energy and resources to make the world a less desirable place to be.  What a damn shame.

A Closer Look At Senator Ron Johnson

There are a number of nasty people in the U.S. Senate today, people who willfully obstruct the people’s business, people who are racist, homophobic, misogynists … but one stands out among the crowd, especially for his behaviour over the past 3 months.

ron-johnsonUntil recently, I had not heard of Senator Ron Johnson from Wisconsin except in passing.  And then came the 2020 election, followed by the Big Lie, followed by the attack on Congress and the Capitol on January 6th as Congress was certifying the election results, and suddenly Ron Johnson got his name in lights.  Mr. Johnson perpetuated the Big Lie, that the former guy had actually won the election and it had been stolen from him.  Mr. Johnson was one of the many Republicans who voted to overturn the election, to throw out our votes … our voices.  Ron Johnson says he wasn’t afraid that day, when Nazis and white supremacists … terrorists … broke into the Capitol, destroying public property, chanting “Kill Mike Pence”, injuring more than 140 police officers and killing more than one person.  Ron Johnson said he wasn’t afraid because …

“I knew those are people that love this country, that truly respect law enforcement, would never do anything to break the law, so I wasn’t concerned.”

BULLSHIT.  bullshit

They were destroying property, breaking windows, pooping on the floor, killing people!  They would never break the law???  Their very presence there was in violation of the law, and what they did once they got in was not just illegal, but seditious, treasonous, and their intent was to overturn this country’s government and install a dictator.  But Ron Johnson thinks these … these heathens … are “good people”.  But, it should be noted that Johnson further qualified his remark by saying he would have been concerned if the invaders had been Black.  Get that man out of Congress!!!

So, now that Ron Johnson has shown his proverbial ass, I decided to look back at his past … people don’t just turn into goats overnight, so I was fairly certain he’s been one for a long time.  I was right.

Johnson is everything that is wrong in the Republican Party.  First elected to the Senate in 2010 with no prior experience in government, and no relevant education, having only a Bachelor’s in Business Administration from the University of Minnesota.  He was a businessman, CEO of a plastics company.  He objected to the stimulus plan of 2009 under the Obama administration, yet he applied for stimulus money for an education council he led.  Yeah, scratch your head over that one!

He is not overly popular … in 2010 he won with 52% of the vote, and only 50.2% in 2016.  He is up for re-election next year … PLEASE, people of Wisconsin, vote this asshole OUT!

He is a climate science denier, having called scientists who attribute global warming to manmade causes “crazy,” saying the theory is “lunacy,” and attributed climate change to causes other than human activity.  Hmmmm … I didn’t see any science degrees or experience listed on his CV.

He is a strong advocate of gun rights (but you already figured that, didn’t you?) and has co-sponsored a bill that would prohibit the Department of Justice from tracking and cataloging the purchases of multiple rifles and shotguns.  In April 2013, Johnson was one of 12 Republican senators to sign a letter threatening to filibuster any newly introduced gun control legislation. That month, Johnson joined 45 other senators in defeating the Manchin-Toomey Amendment, which would have required background checks on all sales of guns, including between individuals.  Sure … just let anybody and everybody have as many guns as they wish and do with them as they will, right?

Healthcare?  Hah!  He was one of only 8 senators to vote against the $1,200 stimulus checks last year.  He is against the Affordable Care Act, has voted to repeal it, and when John McCain famously turned his thumb down on the effort to repeal ACA, Johnson basically blamed it on McCain’s brain tumour and said he wasn’t in his right mind.

And then there were the conspiracy theories he spread about the FBI and Trump–Ukraine scandal, promoted false claims of fraud in the 2020 election, suggested that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi was at fault for the storming of the U.S. Capitol by a pro-Trump mob.  And I could go on, but in the interest of time and sanity, I won’t.

Suffice it to say that Ron Johnson is one of the faces of the new Republican Party – a man without intellect and without conscience.  Let us hope that in November 2022, the people of Wisconsin use their intellect and conscience to get this goat out of the United States Senate.

Some Good News, And A Mini-Rant

Let’s start with the good news today … the Senate confirmed Merrick Garland as Attorney General in a 70-30 vote!  This was the best news I’ve heard all week … maybe all month.  As Senator Richard Durbin of Illinois said …

“Attorney General Garland will lead the Department of Justice with honesty and integrity.  He has a big job ahead of him, but I can’t think of anyone I’d rather have in his place.”

I second that motion.  It’s been a while since we’ve had an honest person leading the Department of Justice and it will be a welcome relief.  Even Mitch McConnell played nice, saying …

“I’m voting to confirm Judge Garland because of his long reputation as a straight shooter and legal expert.”

Garland has said his first priority will be the investigation into the January 6th attacks on Congress by domestic terrorists, and to that end he is planning to meet this week with FBI Director, Christopher Wray, and with Michael R. Sherwin, the departing top prosecutor in Washington who has led the Justice Department inquiry.  But Garland has many more things on his plate, such as civil rights, police reform, and restoring the trust that has been missing under the last two Attorneys General, Jeff Sessions and William Barr.


And now that I’ve given you the good news, let’s move on to the bill currently passed by the House, For the People Act, aka HR1.

On February 26th, 1869, Congress passed the Fifteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.  The Amendment was ratified by the people on February 3rd of the following year.  Sections 1 and 2 read …

Section 1

The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.

Section 2

The Congress shall have the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

The language is straightforward … even s 5-year-old child could understand it.  So WHY do we have 43 states doing the very thing that they are forbidden under the Constitution to do???  What the hell is so difficult to understand here?

Why should Congress have to pass a bill to do exactly what has been the law under the Constitution for 151 years now?  It isn’t rocket science to figure that every citizen of this country has the right to vote in elections!  It’s actually pretty much common sense!  Here is a rundown of what HR1 contains:

  • A set of national voter registration and mail-in voting standards
  • Nonpartisan redistricting commissions
  • Big changes in campaign finance law (long overdue!)
  • New ethics rules for public servants
  • A requirement that presidential candidates disclose their tax returns

I think that the last few years have shown us how critical those last two are.  It should also be noted that Mr. Lee is facing a re-election next year.  But the biggest issue the congressional republicans seem to have is setting federal standards for voter registration and postal voting.  Why?  Because, my friends, if every eligible voter actually votes, the Republicans will get only crumbs.  They are not wildly popular these days among Blacks, Hispanics, women, LGBT people, or basically anybody who cares more about people than money.  They have to cheat in order to win, and if what the do is unconstitutional … they really don’t care.

I was incensed yesterday when I read what Senator Mike Lee from Utah said about HR1 …

“I think I disagree with every single word in HR1, including the words ‘but,’ ‘and,’ and ‘the.’ Everything about this bill is rotten to the core. This is a bill as if written in hell by the devil himself. This takes all sorts of decisions that the federal government really has no business making. It takes them away from the states, makes them right here in Washington D.C. by Congress.

Apparently in an effort to ensure an institutionally, revolutionary-democratic party of sorts. One that can remain in power for many decades to come. It does this by taking away these decisions. Elections in America have always been conducted at the state and local levels…

They are completely flipping that principal on its head so that all these things can be micromanaged from Washington. That’s wrong. That’s really wrong, it’s bad policy. As much as anything else, it’s wildly unconstitutional.”

I wonder if Mr. Lee has read the U.S. Constitution?  It should also be noted that Mr. Lee is facing re-election next year.  The argument republicans are making against HR1 is that it takes election laws out of the states’ hands and puts them in federal control.  Another day, under other circumstances, I might back that argument, but this time my response is that since the states are attempting to disenfranchise half the voters, they’ve lost the privilege of making their own election laws.  Period.  As I’ve said at least a few million times, ‘rights’ come with responsibilities and the states … at least 43 of them … are shirking their responsibilities to We the People and We the People are not going to stand for it anymore!

We should not need federal legislation to force states to allow every eligible person to vote, but because this nation has shown a desire to return to the days of Jim Crow, we do need it.  It’s a sad statement about some of the people in this nation that they still think it’s okay to treat those who don’t look, act, or believe exactly like them as second-class citizens.  A sad statement that makes me ashamed of this country, ashamed to be a part of it.

The Republican Party has proven three things to me:  they are not honest, they do not care about the people of this country, and they are blatant racists.  Yes, that’s a broad brush … go ahead, Senate republicans … prove me wrong!  I dare you!  Do the right thing, don’t filibuster HR1 but give it a fair and fighting chance, or better yet, vote “aye” instead of “nay” on the bill and then maybe, just maybe, I’ll apologize for what I said.

A Wee Bit Of Snark …

Yesterday was International Women’s Day.  I did not write a post on it, though another time I might have.  No, I didn’t forget, but frankly it just didn’t feel right to celebrate a day that is about women’s rights, when in this country (and many others) our rights are being chipped away.  And then, I came across this …


His name is Stewart-Allen Clark and he is was a pastor of the 1st General Baptist Church, in Malden, Missouri.  Here are a few snippets from his February 28th sermon …

“Why is it so many times that women after they get married let themselves go?  I’m not saying every woman can be the epic, the epic trophy wife of all time, like Melania Trump.  I’m not saying that at all. Most women can’t be trophy wives, you know, like her. Maybe you’re a participation trophy. I don’t know, but all I can say is not everybody looks like that. Amen. Not everybody looks like that, but you don’t need to look like a butch either. Hey, here’s something you need to know. You need to know this. Men have a need for their women to look like women. And sweatpants don’t cut it all the time. Wearing flip-flops and pajamas to Walmart, that ain’t gonna work. Ain’t nothing attractive about that. Men want their wives to look good at home and in public. Can I get an ‘amen’?”

Here is a picture of Mr. Clark …

Stewart-Allen-Clark

Wow … I can certainly see why he wants his women to look like supermodels, can’t you?

Mr. Clark has stepped down from his position and is allegedly “seeking professional counseling”.  Sorry, but there is no amount of ‘counseling’ that will turn this person into a human being.  Any person who considers former nude model and gold-digger Melania Trump to be the standard to which women should aspire needs a lobotomy.  How many centuries have we fought against being judged for our looks, but rather asking to be judged for our character, our intellect?  Funny, isn’t it, that Joe Biden was criticized for saying that “we don’t need that kind of neanderthal thinking”, and yet Mr. Clark is a dyed-in-the-wool, real-life neanderthal.


There are a number of newbies on the republican side of the aisle in Congress who, in my view, have no business being in Congress.  Four that come immediately to mind are Josh Hawley, Lauren Boebert, Marjorie Greene, and Madison Cawthorn.  Are these four radically racist, gun-toting fools the face of the new GOP?  If so, either the GOP or the nation are doomed!

The subject of my wrath today is Lauren Boebert and her gun fetish.  You’ll remember that last month, she logged in to a virtual House committee hearing with a virtual arsenal as her backdrop.   And she’s the fool who owns a restaurant that encourages servers to have a pistola strapped to their waist as they serve the chips ‘n salsa to their customers.  Well, Boebert is under investigation for her possible role in the January 6th attacks on Congress, but the fact that she could be expelled from Congress and find herself wearing an orange jumpsuit doesn’t seem to have penetrated the fog that surrounds her brain.  Take a look at her latest video demanding that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi “tear down” the fencing around the Capitol.  Listen to the gunshot at the end.

This, my friends, is an example of what our country is becoming.  Guns have replaced conversation, radicals are being elected to our lawmaking body, and nearly half the nation finds this ‘acceptable’.  The fencing and razor wire are there to protect members of Congress in light of continued threats by right-wing white supremacy groups who have threatened another attack on the Capitol when President Biden addresses a joint session of Congress, date not yet determined.

Boebert has no committee assignments, and neither does Ms. Greene, therefore they literally have no work to do, and yet they are drawing a salary of $174,000 per year, paid for by you and me.  I hope … I sincerely hope that all four of the ones I mentioned are found to have had a role in the treasonous January 6th attacks, that they are expelled from Congress and escorted off the premises and to the nearest jail to await trial.


And on that note, I leave you with a bit of humour …

a-toona-toon-2a-toon-3

Where Was The Guard On January 6th?

What follows is the annotated testimony to Congress by the Commanding General of the D.C. National Guard regarding the events of January 6th at the U.S. Capitol and his explanation of the Guard’s delay in responding.  It is lengthy, but I think you’ll find it interesting and worth the few minutes spent to read it.  Thanks to Seth Abramson at Proof for providing both the transcript and annotations.


Annotated Testimony of William J. Walker, Commanding General of the D.C. National Guard, Before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs and Senate Rules and Administration Committees

Proper names and substantive highlights of this critical March 3, 2021 opening statement—focused on the January 6 insurrection—are bolded in the text below.

William-J-Walker

“Good morning, Chairman [Michigan senator Gary] Peters and Chairwoman [Minnesota senator Amy] Klobuchar, Ranking Members [Ohio senator Rob] Portman and [Missouri senator Roy] Blunt, and members of the Committees. I am Major General William J. Walker and I serve as the Commanding General for the District of Columbia National Guard, affectionately known as the Capital Guardians. I appreciate the opportunity to appear before you today to discuss the events of January 6—a dark chapter in our nation’s history.

I was sickened by the violence and destruction I witnessed that fateful day and the physical and mental harm that came to the U.S. Capitol Police officers and MPD [the Metropolitan Police Department of D.C.], some of whom I met with later that evening and I could see the injuries they sustained. It is my hope that my recollection of events and presentation of the facts as I know them will help your Committees in its investigation and prevent such tragic events from ever occurring again.

First, I think it is critical to understand what the D.C. National Guard’s mission was on January 6, to include what civilian agency we were supporting and how requests for support of other civilian authorities were handled.

On December 31, 2020, the D.C. National Guard [PROOF annotation: later “DCNG”] received written requests from District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser and her Director of D.C. Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency Dr. Christopher Rodriguez. The requests sought D.C. National Guard support for traffic control and crowd management for planned demonstrations in DC from January 5 through [January] 6.

After conducting mission analysis to support the District request, I sent a letter to then Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy, dated January 1, requesting approval. I received approval in a letter dated January 5 from Secretary McCarthy granting support of the MPD with 340 total personnel to include 40 personnel assigned to a Quick Reaction Force.

{PROOF annotation: Note that it took four days before Trump’s Pentagon responded to the Democratic leadership of D.C., meaning that the District got “approval” for National Guard assistance on one of the very two days it had urgently asked for help on—January 5. Not only did this approval come too late for January 5 aid, it left under 24 hours for aid for January 6 to be readied.}

The DCNG provides support to MPD, the U.S. Park Police, U.S. Secret Service and other District and federal law enforcement agencies in response to planned rallies, marches, protests and other large scale first amendment activity on a routine basis.

{PROOF annotation: As previously noted at PROOF, in a January 7 video Stop the Steal organizer Alex Jones claimed that he was in contact with the U.S. Secret Service prior to January 6 about leading the march to the Capitol after Trump’s speech at the White House Ellipse, with the explanation by Jones that then-president Donald Trump himself—as Trump would ultimately declare publicly during his speech at the Ellipse—would be speaking at the event Jones and his “movement” had orchestrated for midday at the Capitol steps. Per Jones, the Secret Service therefore needed to coordinate the logistics of the event. Mysteriously, there is no evidence as yet of the Secret Service at any point contacting other law enforcement agencies to alert them to Trump’s likely presence at the Capitol and the security implications thereof. And yet, beyond Trump’s own public statement on January 6 there is ample evidence that events did indeed unfold as Jones now claims. Jones says he was put in the VIP section of Trump’s audience to more easily be moved to the head of the post-speech march, and so he was; Jones is on video on January 6 repeatedly telling Trump voters that Trump is headed to the Capitol; Jones’ Stop the Steal co-organizer Ali Alexander, who has since repeatedly said he was coordinating with Trump allies in Congress—including Reps. Paul Gosar, Andy Biggs, and Mo Brooks, as well as Trump adviser Kimberly Guilfoyle—appears on video on January 6 having the same belief as Jones that the Secret Service would be bringing Trump to the Capitol. Congress now desperately needs to speak to the Secret Service about these odd discrepancies.}

A standard component of such support is the stand up of an offsite Quick Reaction Force (QRF), an element of guardsmen held in reserve equipped with civil disturbance response equipment (helmets, shields, batons, etc.) and postured to quickly respond to an urgent and immediate need for assistance by civilian authorities. The Secretary of the Army’s January 5 letter withheld authority for me to employ the Quick Reaction Force.

{PROOF annotation: So not only did Trump’s Pentagon take four days to respond to the Democratic officials running D.C.—making it impossible for that response to address the security situation in the Capitol on January 5 and virtually impossible for it to address the security situation on January 6—but it also, when it finally responded, denied the chief request the District’s Democratic leadership had made.}

In addition, the Secretary of the Army’s memorandum to me required that a “concept of operation” (CONOP) be submitted to him before any employment of the QRF. I found that requirement to be unusual as was the requirement to seek approval to move Guardsmen supporting MPD to move from one traffic control point to another.

{PROOF annotation: The actions of Trump’s Pentagon were irregular, and consistently irregular in the same direction: making it harder for any assets under the control of the Trump administration to be used to defend the Capitol from a Trumpist assault on either January 5 or January 6.}

Beginning at 1:30PM [on January 6, 2021], we watched as MPD began to deploy all available resources in support of the Capitol Police. In doing so, the officers began to withdraw from the traffic control points that were jointly manned with D.C. Guardsmen.

At 1:49PM [on January 6, 2021] I received a frantic call from then Chief of U.S. Capitol Police, Steven Sund, where he informed me that the security perimeter at the Capitol had been breached by hostile rioters. Chief Sund, his voice cracking with emotion, indicated that there was a dire emergency on Capitol Hill and requested the immediate assistance of as many Guardsmen as I could muster.

{PROOF annotation: It is now clear that when Capitol Police issued an urgent request for help on January 6, there was absolutely no chance help would be forthcoming in any timely fashion—not because of delays on January 6, though there were many—but primarily because of the actions Trump’s Pentagon had taken prior to January 6 in taking so long to respond to Democratic officials in the District and then denying them the sort of aid those officials had every reason to expect. Media’s exclusive focus on January 6 itself continues to be misplaced; so much of what happened on January 6 was inevitable based on what had happened prior to January 6. In particular, the fact that Trump had installed loyalists Kash Patel and Ezra-Cohen Watnick immediately after learning he’d lost the November 2020 election, and that these two men were essentially controlling Trump defense secretary Chris Miller in the days before the insurrection according to Vanity Fair, have produced a significant concern that Trump and his agents coordinated the Pentagon’s refusal of Democratic officials’ urgent pleas both before and during the insurrection.}

Immediately after the 1:49PM call with Chief [Steven] Sund, I alerted the Army Senior Leadership of the request. The approval for Chief Sund’s request would eventually come from the Acting Secretary of Defense and be relayed to me by Army Senior Leaders at 5:08PM—3 hours and 19 minutes later. We already had Guardsmen on buses ready to move to the Capitol. Consequently, at 5:20PM—in under 20 minutes—the District of Columbia National Guard arrived at the Capitol. We helped to re-establish the security perimeter at the east side of the Capitol to facilitate the resumption of the Joint Session of Congress.

{PROOF annotation: This is stunning. Commander Walker is saying that had he received approval from the Pentagon at 1:49PM on January 6, he could have had Guardsmen at the Capitol by somewhere between 2:05PM and 2:08PM—in time to quell the worst of the insurrection—but instead he heard nothing from Miller, Patel, and Cohen-Watnick, the Trump Pentagon power center, until 5:08PM. Meanwhile, the boss of Mssrs. Miller, Patel, and Cohen-Watnick, was gleefully watching events from the White House and refusing to contact his men at the Pentagon. There is no chance that Miller, Patel, and Cohen-Watnick would have missed the clear signal from (at the very least) Trump’s silence, if not some White House communication we don’t yet know about: don’t do anything until I tell you. By the time the Pentagon acted, Trump had issued public statements about wanting the insurrectionists to leave the Capitol grounds. It was only then that his men at the Pentagon responded to the urgent pleas for aid from the Capitol.}

In conclusion, I am grateful for the Guardsmen from the 53 states and territories who supported [the] D.C. National Guard’s OPERATION CAPITOL RESPONSE {PROOF annotation: all-caps in original} and ensured a peaceful transition of power on January 20, [2021]. In particular, I am grateful for the timely assistance of our close neighbors from the Virginia [National Guard], Delaware [National Guard], and Maryland National Guard who augmented our D.C. National Guard forces in establishing a security perimeter.

I am honored to lead these citizen Soldiers and Airmen—your constituents—many of whom have left behind their families, careers, education and businesses, to ensure the protection and safety of the U.S. Capitol and those who serve in it.

Thank you again for the opportunity to brief you today. I look forward to any questions you may have.”

{PROOF annotation: Commander Walker’s subsequent testimony before these two Senate committees—meeting in an unusual joint session—is equally damning. Most notably, Walker says that the process to get troop deployments approved and troops in place took “minutes” during the Black Lives Matter protests in June 2020, but hours when Trump voters were storming the U.S. Capitol. This disparity is further evidence of misconduct inside Trump’s Pentagon, as was the fact that the Pentagon brought former Trump national security advisor Michael Flynn’s brother Charles Flynn into the chain of command on that day despite him not being in the regular chain of command—and then lied about it publicly. It remains unclear what role Patel, Cohen-Watnick, or Flynn played in creating a massive delay in responding to violence at the Capitol that they had reason to know their boss, Donald Trump, was overjoyed to see.}

They Walk Among Us

Thomas Edward Caldwell, age 65, from Berryville, Virginia, is a U.S. Navy veteran.  Caldwell, once a lieutenant commander in the Navy, also had a top-secret security clearance and served as a section chief for the FBI after leaving the armed forces in 2009.  After leaving the FBI, Caldwell founded a consulting firm that has done business with the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Coast Guard and the Army Personnel Command.

Thomas Edward Caldwell has now been indicted on federal conspiracy and other charges in connection with the January 6th attack on the U.S. Congress and U.S. Capitol.  As a member of the right-wing group calling themselves the “Oath Keepers”, Caldwell was involved in planning and coordinating the attack on the Capitol.  On social media, in the days leading up to that fateful day, Caldwell reached out to another right-wing group known as the “Three Percenters”, in order to arrange plans to “transport weapons across the Potomac by boat.”

On January 1st, Caldwell wrote on Facebook …

“I swore to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic. I did the former, I have done the latter peacefully but they have morphed into pure evil even blatantly rigging an election and paying off the political caste. We must smite them now and drive them down.”

During the attack on the Capitol, Caldwell received a text message from a cohort saying …

“All members are in the tunnels under capital seal them in. Turn on gas.”

And later that evening, after the National Guard had secured the Capitol, Caldwell sent a Facebook message to another cohort, saying …

“We need to do this at the local level. Lets storm the capitol in Ohio. Tell me when!”

This gave me chills.  Yes, it’s been over a month ago, and yes, we now have a President, with a capital ‘P’, and yes, over 230 of the perpetrators of that monstrous event have been arrested and charged with a variety of crimes.  But some roam free on bond, and … let’s face it folks, the 230+ who have been arrested are a drop in the bucket.  There are more people out there with these warped notions and diabolical intentions.

Dawn Bancroft is 58 years old and lives in Doylestown, Pennsylvania where she owns a gym.  She, too, was part of the attack on the Capitol, and her words are as chilling as Caldwell’s, perhaps more so …

“We were looking for Nancy to shoot her in the friggin’ brain but we didn’t find her.”

They walk among us, my friends.  They are the lady who asked you where she could find pizza crust in the grocery store, the man you saw on the corner waiting to cross the busy street, the guy who gave you a friendly smile while he was waiting to pick up his prescription at the pharmacy yesterday.  They don’t, in everyday life, go about half-naked with horns sticking out of their heads so that we can identify them as certifiable nutjobs.  They look and act normal, for the most part.  How many like Caldwell and Bancroft are there in your city?  I’d bet money there are some, probably living within a few miles of you.

What’s my point, you ask?  My point is that in order to deter such future attacks, we must make an example of these people.  We must find as many as possible, and they must be charged, tried, and convicted, then sentenced to the maximum allowed by law, in order to deter any who might be thinking to do the same.  And those like the former guy who inspired and incited these people, must also be charged and punished, preferably with a very long prison sentence.

The people mentioned above are the ones I have often referred to as the snakes that came slithering out from under the rocks when the former guy was campaigning for the 2016 election and basically told them that it is okay to be a racist, that white people, especially white ‘Christian’ people, are superior and have the right to denigrate and even kill ‘others’.  These snakes slithered out from under their rocks, and now they have no intention of going back, of accepting that this is a very diverse world, that Black people are just as deserving as any others, that Muslims are not terrorists, and that LGBT people have the same rights as anybody else.  That is not the world they want, and not one they will readily accept.

I call on every judge and jury in this nation to hold these people accountable for their actions on that day.  I call on the FBI to diligently root out those who remain free, to find them and prosecute them.  These people do not belong in our society … not now, not ever.

I hear there are ‘events’ planned for March 4th, and I can only hope that federal law enforcement agencies are on high alert and far better prepared and more effective at preventing a repeat of what happened on January 6th.  And given that social media has proven to be the venue through which these terrorists communicated and planned their attack, I would have no problem with Facebook, Twitter, and the rest being shut down for several days prior to March 4th.  Freedom of speech?  Sorry, folks … it’s time for some checks on unlimited 1st Amendment ‘rights’, if people do not also accept the responsibility that accompanies those rights.

The Former Guy

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


Trump is now “the former guy”

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

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

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

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


The Biden cabinet

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

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

Next week, confirmation hearings are scheduled for …

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

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