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!

PLEASE, AG Merrick Garland … Do the Right Thing!

If we fail to hold Donald Trump, John Eastman, and all the members of Congress who played a role in the attempted coup of January 6th, then we are basically telling all future presidents that there will be no punishment for any criminal activities in which they might engage while in office.  Period.  Close your eyes and imagine a future president, say a President Gaetz, forcing himself on White House staff members, making sex with him a requisite of the job.  Imagine a President Cruz taking money under the table from the next Russian president in exchange for refusing to assist the next country Russia attacks.  Imagine President Manchin negotiating with the coal and oil companies to shut down the Environmental Protection Agency, or … well, just let your imagination run wild for a few minutes.

Those of you who are parents … you give your kids a time out or some other humanitarian punishment when they knowingly do something wrong, yes?  Why do you do this?  Because you know they must learn that actions have consequences, that if you steal from a schoolmate or punch a younger kid, you will pay the price.  If you lie, you will pay the price.  People like Donald Trump were never disciplined and grew up thinking that they were somehow ‘special’, not accountable for their actions.  When one of these people gets into a public office, they assume that it’s their private play space, that they can do anything they please because they have “the power”, they assume they are untouchable, invincible.  If the courts and the Justice Department of the United States fail to charge or indict and convict Donald Trump and his co-conspirators for not only their role in the January 6th attempted coup, but the entire batch of underhanded attempts to overturn our election by subverting the Justice Department, seeking to corrupt states attorneys general and more, then they are complicit in creating the monster that will be the next person to sit at the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office.

There are no grey areas here, no moral equivalencies, no doubts whatsoever.  Donald Trump and his minions attempted treason.  They failed … this time.  They, or whomever is the next president, will have learned from their mistakes and will not likely fail again.  No, my friends, I am not an alarmist, not being overly dramatic … I am stating facts based on a) common sense, b) logic, and c) what I can see and hear with my own eyes and ears.

I have heard numerous legal experts opine that to charge Trump would be to go down a road fraught with obstacles.  That there is no precedent for actually charging a former president for criminal activity seems to be a big stumbling block – it shouldn’t be, but apparently it is.  Now, these legal experts have far more knowledge than I do about the ins and outs of the law, but I am not completely witless, and I know that he cannot be allowed to get by with his crimes.  I know that NOW is the time we MUST prove to the world that NOBODY in the United States, not even the president, is above the law.  Failure to do so … is simply not an option.

There is also a concern among legal scholars, and likely within the Department of Justice, that in the current polarized political environment, Trump would be seen as the ‘victim of a witch hunt’ or a political voodoo doll.  Some of the legal scholars say he might have a valid defense by claiming that he lacked criminal intent because he truly believed that massive voter fraud had taken place.  Bullshit.  If nothing else, we have learned from various people testifying in the January 6th committee hearings that Trump was told repeatedly by every expert from then-Attorney General William Barr to various states’ Attorneys General that he spoke with, to his own lawyers and even his daughter that he lost.  Period.  He disregarded all but a drunken Rudy Giuliani and a cunning John Eastman not because he believed he won, but because he had a plan to stay in office by hook or by crook.  And if by some remote chance, despite all the evidence, he did still believe he won, then he is seriously deranged and unfit to remain in society, let alone run for any public office.

Attorney General Merrick Garland is in a tough spot, for he’s damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t.  For the sake of this nation, for the future of our children, the future of the world as we know it, he must do the right thing!

A Symptom of the New GOP — Eric Greitens

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Is “Infamy” To Become The New Normal?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And her mother, Ruby, said …

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

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

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

DONALD TRUMP LOST THE 2020 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION!

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

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

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.

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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January 6th Hearings And A Snippet

I mostly want to talk a bit about last night’s televised hearings, but also have another snippet … or maybe two … who knows?  🤷


January 6th Committee hearings

I watched the televised hearings of the January 6th committee tonight, and I have to tell you, by the time they took a 10-minute recess after the first hour, I was more than ready for a break!  I was shaking and couldn’t catch my breath after watching some of that footage.  I’ve never wanted to hurt somebody more in my life than I wanted to hurt those ugly people storming the Capitol.

The hearing was interesting … nay, fascinating … but not much new information has been presented as yet.  Still, watching the first-hand account by the police officer, Caroline Edwards, who was wounded, knocked unconscious, then resumed her duties to protect the Capitol upon regaining consciousness, only to be injured yet again, was riveting.  She did not cry as she described the ‘carnage’ and ‘chaos’, but I wanted to cry for her.

Initially, the investigation was going to be held by an independent, non-partisan group of people similar to the 9/11 Commission, but the Republicans, namely Kevin McCarthy, protested that they wanted a partisan, congressional committee.  Presumably, he thought this would give him and his minions a degree of control over what information was sought and revealed. His attempt to put two Republican members of Congress on the committee who were to some extent involved in the events of that day, Jim Jordan and Jim Banks, proved his intent, and since then he has made no secret of the fact that if he gets the opportunity after the November elections, he will shut down the committee and destroy its work.  Too late, Kev … we’re seeing it and we cannot … will not unsee it.

That said, I think a non-congressional, non-partisan investigative body would have been a better solution because the Republicans already have and will continue to claim that it’s a “witch hunt” to “get Donald Trump” by “people who don’t like him.”  With a non-congressional, non-partisan committee, it would have been much more difficult for them to make that claim and be believed.  Then again, their followers will believe almost anything, as we saw from the various testimonies tonight by people who honestly (or so they say) believed that Trump had told them to come do their dirty deeds that day.

However, McCarthy forced the hand of Nancy Pelosi and I think she put together a great committee.  Sadly, the two Republicans who voluntarily joined, Representatives Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger, have been bullied and harassed by their peers in the Republican Party.  Ms. Cheney is holding her own, but Mr. Kinzinger announced early on that he will not run for re-election in November.

Just from what we saw tonight, it appears the committee has done good work, despite the fact that numerous people they needed to talk to have foolishly ignored their subpoenas or refused to answer questions, invoking their 5th Amendment right not to incriminate themselves … meaning, of course, that they are guilty to a greater or lesser extent.  The committee is still gathering information, crossing their ‘t’s and dotting their ‘i’s, and their report will live on far past their tenure in Congress.  I hope … I am sure … that there are numerous copies of the entirety of their work stored in secure locations away from the Capitol just in case some disaster should befall the Capitol.


A seditionist for Governor of Michigan???

Ryan Kelley is … or was … running on the Republican ticket for Governor of Michigan, hoping to unseat Gretchen Whitmer.  His campaign may have just sounded the death knell, though, as on Thursday morning, Mr. Kelley was arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for his role in the January 6th insurrection/attempted coup.  Kelley is charged with committing violence against a person or property on restricted grounds, damaging federal property, disorderly conduct and entering a restricted building or grounds without permission.  All four charges are misdemeanors, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office … which I do not understand.  How can these be only misdemeanors?  Violence against a person?  A misdemeanor???  WHY???

Kelley was released after appearing briefly in federal court and was not even required to post bail!  Grrrrrrrrrrrr.  The evidence is incontrovertible that Kelley was at the Capitol on January 6th 2021, but some are already claiming that his arrest was an attempt by the FBI to undermine his campaign for governor.  I said a minute ago that this could be the death knell for his campaign, but on the other hand, seeing how the Republican mentality works, this might just give his campaign a surge!  The nastier they are, the better the Republicans like them.

Brain Overload And The January 6th Hearings

The human brain is a marvel … it really is.  But, it is not capable of processing the enormous amounts of detritus we’re putting into it these days without consequences.  Continuing to overload our central system will … not might, WILL … lead to at the very least a meltdown, at worst, well … I’ll leave that to your imagination.  We need a respite, but how?  People say to me, “Oh, I tuned out all the news long ago and I just focus on things that make me happy.”  A lovely sentiment, I suppose, if you can do it.  Personally, I cannot.  Nor do I think that those who do that for an extended period of time are being good citizens, nor a valuable part of society.  Oh sure, it’s fine to take a break for a day here and there … we all do it, even me.  Yes, by all means do things that relieve the tension, spend family time, read a good book, watch a funny movie, visit friends.  But to just tune it all out until one day you wake to the sound of jackboots outside your house is foolish, at the very least.

This evening will be the first televised hearing of the House special committee to investigate the events of January 6, 2021.  There are many questions in our minds about that infamous day:  Who devised the devious, illegal plot?  Who helped implement it, recruit the players, and convince them to risk their future to overthrow a fair election, to overthrow in essence, the entire government of the United States?  I keep seeing articles about “how to watch” the hearings … huh?  Each one tells you what to look for, what to expect, but you don’t need all that … you only need to tune in and watch … and listen.  Thus far, there has been zero accountability for that attempted coup, that insurrection.  Oh sure, a lot of people have been arrested, a few even sentenced to short prison sentences, even more have been given a slap on the wrist and told not to do it again.  But nobody of any consequence is in prison today because of their role in attempting to overthrow a government that has existed for 233 years!

Donald Trump is not in prison, has not even, as yet, been charged.  Junior has not been held accountable for his role.  John Eastman, presumably the ‘brains’ behind the evil plot, still walks free without even a single charge.  So yes, I want to see and hear the evidence for myself.  I want Attorney General Merrick Garland to watch every single minute of these hearings and then get off his arse and start bringing charges against these people … every last bloomin’ one of them!

We need to stop pussyfooting around with this and get ‘er done.  We’re running out of time, because while I’m not convinced the Republicans can put a majority into the House of Representatives in November, if they do manage it, then ol’ Kevin McCarthy has already said he will shut the January 6th committee down … immediately.  If people like Trump and Eastman aren’t charged and indicted, then all the thousands of hours and millions of dollars spent to get to the bottom of the insurrection will have been for naught.  Worse yet, the Republicans will have a field day and I can guarantee you that there will be another coup on January 6th of 2025 and the next one will not fail!

PLEASE, my friends, make time in your schedule to watch the hearings, even if you can’t watch them at the time of the broadcast, I have no doubt they will be available for some time thereafter.  If you can, write letters to your local papers and let them know your thoughts on the criminality of some of our own members of Congress … people we ‘hired’ with our votes and are paying with our hard-earned tax dollars.  Ted, Lauren, Josh, Matt … yeah, I mean you!

I strongly suspect that we will learn a lot from these hearings, learn that people we didn’t even think about were involved in the process, either in the planning, execution, or cover-up stages.  I’m sure the ‘other side’ will try to twist everything and deny, deny, deny, turning the finger of blame back across the aisle, but ignore them.  I certainly plan to, for as I said at the beginning of this post, there is only so much the human brain can absorb and mine is already on overload, as I suspect yours is.  So, ignore the fools and idiots, let them be their own audience, for they are really a pretty lousy show, not worth our time or brain space!

Coupgate? Trumpgate?

This week will begin the televised hearings of the January 6th committee and while I’m not holding my breath, I am hopeful that the American public will at least be convinced of one thing:  Donald Trump is a crook, a criminal, who attempted a coup to overturn the U.S. election in 2020 and can NEVER be allowed to hold public office again.  Robert Reich gives us a comparison to another set of televised hearings 49 years ago … all the news then, but Watergate pales in comparison to what happened on January 6th 2020.


The Week Ahead: Why everything depends on Liz Cheney

Forty-nine years ago, Howard Baker had a similar responsibility — but hers will be far more challenging

Robert Reich

The televised hearings of the House Select Committee on the January 6 insurrection, which begin Thursday, mark an historic milestone in the battle between democracy and autocracy. The events that culminated in the attack on the Capitol constitute the first attempted presidential coup in our nation’s 233-year history. The Select Committee’s inquiry is the most important congressional investigation of presidential wrongdoing since the Senate investigation of the Watergate scandals in the 1970s.

To a large degree, the success of those hearings will depend on the Wyoming Republican congresswoman and vice-chair of the committee, Liz Cheney. Although I have disagreed with almost every substantive position she has ever taken, I salute her courage and her patriotism. And I wish her success.

I vividly recall the televised hearings of the Senate Watergate committee, which began nearly a half-century ago, on May 17, 1973. More than a year later, on August 8, 1974 —knowing that he would be impeached in the House and convicted in the Senate — Nixon resigned.

I was just finishing law school when the Watergate hearings began. I was supposed to study for final exams but remained glued to my television. I remember the entire cast of characters as if the hearings occurred yesterday, and I’m sure many of you do, too — people such as North Carolina Senator Sam Ervin, a Democrat, who served as the committee’s co-chair; John Dean, the White House counsel who told the committee about Nixon’s attempted coverup; and Alexander Butterfield, Nixon’s deputy assistant, who revealed that Nixon had taped all conversations in the White House.

But to my young eyes, the hero of the Watergate hearings was the committee’s Republican co-chair, Tennessee Senator Howard Baker, Jr.

Baker had deep ties to the Republican Party. His father was a Republican Congressman and his father-in-law was Senate minor­ity leader for a decade. Notwithstanding those ties, Baker put his loyalty to the Constitution and rule of law ahead of his loyalty to his party or the president. His steadiness and care, and the tenacity with which he questioned witnesses, helped America view the Watergate hearings as a search for truth rather than a partisan “witch hunt,” as Nixon described them.

It was Baker who famously asked Dean, “what did the president know and when did he know it?” And it was Baker who led all the other Republicans on the committee to join with Democrats in voting to subpoena the White House tapes — the first time a congres­sional commit­tee had ever issued a subpoena to a Pres­id­ent, and only the second time since 1807 that anyone had subpoenaed the chief executive.

Fast forward 49 years. This week, Baker’s role will be played by Cheney. Her Republican pedigree is no less impressive than Baker’s was: She is the elder daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney and Second Lady Lynne Cheney. She held several positions in the George W. Bush administration. She is a staunch conservative. And, before House Republicans ousted her, she chaired the House Republican Conference, the third-highest position in the House Republican leadership.

Cheney’s responsibility this week will be similar to Baker’s 49 years ago — to be the steady voice of non-partisan common sense, helping the nation view the hearings as a search for truth rather than a “witch hunt,” as Trump has characterized them.

In many ways, though, Cheney’s role will be far more challenging than Baker’s. Forty-nine years ago, American politics was a tame affair compared to the viciousness of today’s political culture. Republican senators didn’t threaten to take away Howard Baker’s seniority or his leadership position. The Tennessee Republican Party didn’t oust him. Nixon didn’t make threatening speeches about him. Baker received no death threats, as far as anyone knows.

It will be necessary for Cheney to show — as did Baker — more loyalty to the Constitution and the rule of law than to her party or the former president. But she also will have to cope with a nation more bitterly divided over Trump’s big lie than it ever was over Nixon and his coverup of the Watergate burglary. She will have to face a Republican Party that has largely caved in to Trump’s lie — enabling and encouraging it. Baker’s Republican Party never aligned itself with Nixon’s lies. Meanwhile, Cheney’s career has suffered and her life and the lives of her family have been threatened.

The criminal acts for which Richard Nixon was responsible — while serious enough to undermine the integrity of the White House and compromise our system of government — pale relative to Trump’s. Nixon tried to cover up a third-rate burglary. Trump tried to overthrow our system of government. The January 6 insurrection was not an isolated event. It was part of a concerted effort by Trump to use his lie that the 2020 election was stolen as a means to engineer a coup, while whipping up anger and distrust among his supporters toward our system of government. Yet not a shred of evidence has ever been presented to support Trump’s claim that voter fraud affected the outcome of the 2020 election.

Consider (to take but one example) Trump’ phone call to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in which he pressured Raffensperger to change the presidential vote count in Georgia in order to give Trump more votes than Biden: “All I want to do is this,” Trump told Raffensperger in a recorded phone call. “I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have because we won the state.” Trump threatened Raffensperger with criminal liability if he did not do so. Trump’s actions appear to violate 18 U.S.C. § 371, conspiracy to defraud the United States, and 18 U.S.C. § 1512, obstruction of Congress.  

The Justice Department is conducting a criminal investigation into these activities. Attorney General Merrick Garland has said that the Justice Department will “follow the facts and the law wherever they may lead.” As with Watergate, the facts will almost certainly lead to the person who then occupied the Oval Office.

This week’s televised committee hearings are crucial to educating the public and setting the stage for the Justice Department’s prosecution. Federal district court Judge David Carter in a civil case brought against the Committee by John Eastman, Trump’s lawyer and adviser in the coup attempt, has set the framework for the hearings. Judge Carter found that it was

 “more likely than not that President Trump corruptly attempted to obstruct the Joint Session of Congress on January 6, 2021,” and concluded that Trump and Eastman “launched a campaign to overturn a democratic election, an action unprecedented in American history […] The illegality of the plan was obvious.”

Those who claim that a president cannot be criminally liable for acts committed while in office apparently forget that Richard Nixon avoided prosecution only because he was pardoned by his successor, Gerald Ford. Those who argue that Trump should not be criminally liable because no president in American history has been criminally liable, overlook the fact that no president in history has staged an attempted coup to change the outcome of an election. Without accountability for these acts, Trump’s criminality opens wide the door to future presidents and candidates disputing election outcomes and seeking to change them — along with ensuing public distrust, paranoia, and divisiveness.

Liz Cheney bears a burden far heavier than Howard Baker bore almost a half-century ago. Please watch this Thursday’s Jan. 6 Committee televised hearings. And please join me in appreciating the public service of Liz Cheney.

The GOP — It Ain’t What It Used To Be

One of the columnists I most respect is Eugene Robinson of The Washington Post.  I bookmarked his column from Thursday to further peruse and upon doing so, I thought it well worth sharing with you.  We the People can still salvage the democratic foundations from under the ashes of conservative cultism, but … we don’t have many chances left, which is why it is so imperative that we make sure everyone votes this November and in November 2024 … it may be the last best hope for the survival of the United States.


State Sen. Doug Mastriano (R-Franklin), the Republican candidate for governor of Pennsylvania, gestures to the crowd during his primary night election party in Chambersburg, Pa., on May 17. (Carolyn Kaster/AP)

Cult or a conspiracy? The GOP sure isn’t a normal political party.

By Eugene Robinson

May 19, 2022

Is today’s Republican Party primarily a cult of personality or a seditious conspiracy? I can argue either side of that question. But it is clear that the GOP is no longer a political organization or movement in the traditional sense. And if Republican cultists and conspirators win power in November, voters have only ourselves to blame.

It’s not as if we can’t see the dangers that lie ahead. As Bob Dylan once sang, “You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.”

The object of the GOP’s cultish devotion is, of course, former president Donald Trump. I have my doubts whether Trump will actually run for the White House again in 2024 (and risk losing twice, whether he acknowledges either loss publicly), but for now he is the unchallenged egomaniacal leader of the party he seized in 2016.

Tuesday’s primary results in Pennsylvania prove Trump’s primacy. As the party’s nominee for governor, GOP voters chose Trump’s preferred pick, a state senator named Doug Mastriano who trumpets the “big lie” about the 2020 election being stolen; was present at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021 (though he says he left before the insurrectionary portion of the events); and appeared at an event associated with the hallucinatory QAnon conspiracy theory about the nation somehow being run by a cabal of pedophiles.

His Democratic opponent, state Attorney General Josh Shapiro, should be able to win that race handily by simply keeping his rhetoric and positions within the bounds of reality as we know it — if, and only if, enough Democrats, independents and still-sane Republicans bother to vote in November.

The race for the Republican nomination for Pennsylvania’s contested U.S. Senate seat is, as of this writing, a virtual tie between Trump’s choice, television celebrity doctor Mehmet Oz, and hedge fund titan David McCormick. Far-right political commentator Kathy Barnette faded to third after Trump declared her too extreme even for his liking.

But look again at that lineup of candidates. None has any of the experience in elective office that used to be expected of a candidate for the Senate. And the campaign consisted mostly of all three professing their undying fealty to Trump and their faith in his infallibility.

The Democratic candidate in that November contest — Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, who won his primary easily, despite suffering a stroke Friday, and is on the mend — has a good chance of winning, which could increase the Democrats’ tenuous Senate majority if they can hold other seats.

In North Carolina, GOP Rep. Ted Budd, another Trump endorsee, won the primary for that state’s open Senate seat; Budd is another “big lie” espouser who voted against certifying the 2020 electoral vote, even after the Jan. 6 rioters had sacked the Capitol. One Trump-endorsed N.C. Republican, Rep. Madison Cawthorn, did lose his primary. But Cawthorn’s antics and transgressions were such that not even Trump’s lukewarm pitch for “a second chance” for the troubled young politician could save him.

The dominant pattern of the Republican primaries thus far is clear: It is very, very hard to win a statewide nomination without Trump’s support, or at least his amity; and it is impossible to win Trump’s backing if you reject his lie about the supposedly “stolen” election. How is that anything but cultlike?

This is the most dangerous aspect of the GOP’s devolution from party to personality cult: Devotion to Trump requires a willingness to betray democracy. Much of Trump’s attention is focused on states, such as Pennsylvania, where he falsely claims he was victimized by voter fraud. If Mastriano were to win the governor’s race, his handpicked secretary of state could refuse to certify 2024 election results that Trump did not like.

Vote-counting in the Pennsylvania Senate primary is not yet finished, but Trump has already called on Oz — who has a tiny, tentative lead over McCormick — to preemptively “declare victory.”

This is where the question of seditious conspiracy comes in. The Republican Party is shaping itself in Trump’s image, and Trump has shown nothing but contempt for the traditions of fair play and good will that allow our democracy to function. Refusing to accept the will of the voters is authoritarianism. Today’s GOP, increasingly, is just fine with that.

All is not lost, however. Turnout in midterm elections is traditionally much lower than in presidential years. Voters who are appalled at what the GOP has become can send a powerful and definitive message by abandoning their traditional nonchalance and voting in huge numbers. We can reject Trumpism, both for its cultishness and for its proto-fascism. We can take a stand.

It’s up to us what kind of country we want to live in. We had better speak our minds with our votes — while we still can.