A Jaw-Dropping Two Hours

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Is “Infamy” To Become The New Normal?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And her mother, Ruby, said …

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

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

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

DONALD TRUMP LOST THE 2020 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION!

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

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

One Thought …

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

The Week’s Best Cartoons 6/18

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

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

See all the ‘toons at Political Charge!!!

Human vs Neanderthal

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

They Are NOT Heroes

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


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

June 16, 2022

By Frank Bruni

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

musingsofanoldfart

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

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

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

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The Capitol Police Gave Their All

Our friend Annie penned this beautiful poem that I thought deserved to be shared. It honours the Capitol Police who gave their all on that fateful day, and specifically Officer Caroline Edwards whose moving testimony last Thursday night brought a tear to many an eye. Thank you, Annie, for sharing your talents and this moving poem with us.

annieasksyou...

Image from Georgia Recorder(*)

In Honor of Caroline Edwards, Witness at the January 6th Committee’s First Public Hearing, and Her Colleagues

T he lovely, nails-tough cop described the
H ell raining down upon them.
E nduring torment, taunts, and trauma, they

C ontributed their very lives to save
A building, institution, lawmakers—all
P rey to a mob of fury-blinded
I nsurrectionists whose Chief insisted
T hat it was they who were in the right.
O nly now do we fully see the brilliant
L ight their heroism shone as trained thugs

P ressed against them,
O verwhelmed them.
L isten to her searing words:
“I t was carnage, it was
C haos…I wasn’t trained for warfare.”
E xcruciatingly, she detailed the horrors,

G raphically told of slipping in her fellows’ blood
A nd wiping clean their spray-pierced eyes til
V eils of spray descended on her own,
E xhausting…

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The Week’s Best Cartoons 6/11

There always seems to be one topic at the forefront that gets the most attention from the political cartoonists, and this week it is no surprise that it’s the televised hearings of the House Committee that has been tasked with investigating the events leading up to and during the attempted coup on January 6, 2021.  And the second most popular topic, again understandably, is the gun insanity that has swept this nation.  As she does so brilliantly every week, TokyoSand has gone through them and selected the ‘pick of the litter’ for our cartoon viewing pleasure.  Please do click on the link at the end of this post to see all the cartoons, for what I have here is but a small sampling.  Thank you once again, TS!


Here’s how editorial cartoonists covered the start of the January 6th Committee hearings.

be sure to check out the rest of the ‘toons!

How the Mighty have Fallen

I thought I was finished for the day, but then I saw this moving post from our friend David. David lives in Wales, in the UK, and yet he quite often understands our situation here better than many of the people who call themselves ‘citizens’ and ‘patriots’. Thank you, David … fingers crossed that your hopes for this nation will soon be realized.

The BUTHIDARS

It’s been a week unlike any other in my lifetime(that I can recall).The House Select Committee on Jan 6th have been revealing some of the details of that fateful day and detailing some of the proofs they have of how events unfolded. What an ignoble enterprise it was with the collusion of American Senators and Representatives to bring down the lawful Government. What has sickened me apart from the inclusion of Racist groups as a deliberate act in the venture, so that those responsible can never disassociate themselves from the intent, is the lack of condemnation from much of the mainstream press. Do they really think the man on whose behalf this was done is such a Stalwart American Hero that his actions rate forgiveness?

They Don’t!!! A friend shared on her blog a letter she’s sent to her State representatives and Senators asking whether they meant the oath they…

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