A Conservative Voice … With Reason!

It is rare that I will post the words of a conservative commentator these days, but there are a few exceptions.  Bill Kristol is a conservative, but an intelligent man with a conscience, one who is not your typical “maga” sort of Republican we see so much of today.  His post for the New Year crossed my radar and I want to share it with you, for while he is fully cognizant of the problems facing the world today, he also sees hope arising from the past 12 months.  Take a look …


A (Surprisingly) Happy New Year

2022 was better than expected; 2023 is key.

William Kristol

30 December 2022

A year ago, as we approached New Year’s Day 2022, things seemed grim.

Things were grim.

At home, Donald Trump was ascendant in the Republican party. Elise Stefanik’s Dear Leader sycophancy and Big Lie enthusiasm seemed to be the future. Liz Cheney’s truth-telling seemed to be the past. And it seemed that no one of any prominence would pay a price for January 6th. President Biden’s approval ratings were plummeting and a Democratic Congress was not producing legislation. A red wave for an unredeemed Republican party looked likely.

Confidence in the U.S. abroad had been damaged by the Afghanistan withdrawal. Vladimir Putin was threatening Ukraine and looked like a good bet to topple the Ukrainian government and partition the country. The mullahs’ grip in Iran appeared unchallenged as they continued to progress toward nuclear weapons. America was divided at both the elite and popular levels, the country uncertain of its global role—still apparently reeling from Trump’s presidency, but not yet strengthened by Biden’s.

The new year in 2022 was not a particularly happy one.

But politics, like life, does not proceed in a straight line.

Things turned around.

Actually, let me retract that last sentence—because it suggests fatalism and a lack of human agency concerning important events, which is both untrue and demoralizing.

It was people—both extraordinary leaders and ordinary folk—who turned things around in 2022.

At the end of 2022, Putin is still Putin. The mullahs are still the mullahs. Trump is still Trump. Those actors have not changed.

But the world around them changed because of the struggles and successes of those who fought for democracy and for freedom.

Volodomyr Zelenskyy and the people of Ukraine stood heroically firm. The Iranian people bravely rose up. At home, the American electorate rejected the worst of the election deniers and continued its rebuke of Trumpism for the third straight election. Congress passed a fair amount of reasonable legislation, including the Electoral Count Act. The January 6th Committee conducted itself seriously and honorably and in the course of its work documented a great deal of important evidence which was not previously known. Partly as a consequence of their labors—which were dismissed both early and late as being obscure and inconsequential—the Department of Justice now seems likely to try to enforce some accountability not just for the foot soldiers, but for the leaders of the insurrection. And for Donald Trump.

What happened in 2022 was as remarkable as it was unexpected. And as a result, we enter 2023 in better shape than we could have reasonably hoped a year ago.

Because—and this is the key part—people did not accept the reasonable expectations. They fought and organized and worked. They bent the curve of the future.

Perhaps we will one day look back at 2022 not just as a lucky bending of the curve, but as an inflection point—as a true Zeitenwende, to use the term invoked by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

But we don’t know. More to the point, we can’t know. Nothing about the future—nothing about 2023—is inevitable.

It’s equally possible that we could look back on 2022 as a bear market rally for democracy. That we will one day judge it to have been a false dawn, a brief surge of democratic willpower and energy on behalf of freedom that peters out in the face of the illiberal forces arrayed against it.

But the successes of 2022 have given those who care about liberty and democracy, about human decency and human dignity, a fighting chance in 2023.

In 2022 democracy and liberty didn’t just hold the line—they gained some ground. The defenders of liberalism fought back more effectively than the last decade suggested they were capable of doing.

What comes next will be the product not just of implacable forces, but the choices and actions of real people. Some of those people will be consequential and their choices will be seen by the world. You will know—or learn—their names. The vast majority will not be. Many of the choices will be made by ordinary people, acting individually or collectively, often in quiet—but important—ways.

Will Trump be further weakened by the end of 2023? Will demagoguery and authoritarianism be pushed back both in America and across the globe? Will Ukraine win? Will Putin remain in power? Will the Iranian people topple the mullahs?

There are unexpected opportunities for 2023. But they need to be followed through on, not frittered away.

So now is no time for celebration. To use a World War II analogy, we’ve survived Dunkirk, the Blitz and Pearl Harbor—but much damage has been done, the enemies of liberalism remain formidable, and we’ve only just begun the effort to regain ground. Even if victory is possible, there is a long and difficult road ahead.

Perhaps Churchill’s 1941 Christmas Eve address from the White House, where he was visiting Roosevelt, is apt.

“Let the children have their night of fun and laughter,” he remarked. And “Let us grown-ups share to the full in their unstinted pleasure.”

But Churchill added that, after sharing that moment of pleasure, we will have to “turn again to the stern task and the formidable years that lie before us, resolved that, by our sacrifice and daring, these same children shall not be robbed of their inheritance or denied their right to live in a free and decent world.”

This isn’t World War II, of course. But it is the challenge of our time. And history will judge us on whether we meet it.

So It Doesn’t Happen Again …

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

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


My fellow Republicans, convicting Trump is necessary to save America

Adam-KinzingerOpinion by Adam Kinzinger

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

impeachment

The Snarky Snippets Just Keep Coming!

Whew … these days I’m never at a loss for things and people to write about!


Like father, like daughter …

Just like her father, Ivanka Trump cannot take criticism, but lashes out when she discovers that there are people who don’t love her simply because her last name is Trump.

Turns out, Ivanka was supposed to give a ‘virtual commencement speech’ to students at Wichita State University Tech yesterday, but her speech was canceled.  Why?  Faculty, students and alumni all objected and requested that the administration cancel her speech.  Why?  Think about it … this year’s graduates are entering the workforce at the most difficult time in modern U.S. history.  The unemployment rate is sky high, there is a raging pandemic that is NOT under control in this nation, and the foreseeable future is grim, to say the least.  What could a spoiled, privileged daughter of a New York real estate billionaire say to them that would be relevant to their circumstances?  Not a damn thing.

True to the family habits, she responded angrily on Twitter …

“Our nation’s campuses should be bastions of free speech. Cancel culture and viewpoint discrimination are antithetical to academia. Listening to one another is important now more than ever!”

IvankaListening to one another … when do you suppose was the last time Ivanka, or any Trump for that matter, listened to the concerns of those of us who don’t have at least six figures in our bank balances?  When do you think she last listened to that single mother who is struggling to pay the rent and put food on the table?  Never, that’s when.  Ivanka Trump is a spoiled little rich bitch and her words are the last thing today’s graduates care to hear.

But, not to be stopped, she posted a video of her speech online, apparently assuming the world is simply dying to hear from yet another ignorant Trump.

One line stands out …

“In my own life, I have found that my greatest personal growth has arisen from times of discomfort and uncertainty.”

WHEN has she ever known either discomfort or uncertainty???  🙄


I told you so …

Remember on Friday when I wrote about the Department of Labour unemployment numbers for May, and how Trump was patting himself on the back?  And remember I told you that I didn’t for one minute believe the numbers, for I no longer believe anything that comes out of the federal government?  Well, I was right.  The latest is that due to a “misclassification”, the numbers were underreported.  In fact, the unemployment rate for May was not 13.3% as Trump claimed, but rather 16.3%, and frankly I’m not convinced that this is an accurate representation, either.

The reason for my skepticism is this … the unemployment rate comes from a survey where Census workers ask about 60,000 households questions about whether they are working or looking for a job the week of May 10 to 16.  There are 128.58 million households in the U.S., so a sample of 60,000 is .047%, not even one half of one percent of all the households in the nation.  I strongly suspect the true number lies around 20%, though I have no way of proving it.

Bottom line is that there are a heck of a lot of people still unemployed in this nation, and Trump’s little celebratory speech, in addition to being disgusting and offensive, was all a lie.  Surprise.


The national bimbo speaks …

Now, I know that name-calling isn’t particularly mature and as a rule, I don’t like it, but sometimes you just must call a spade, a spade.  Or, in this case, a bimbo.  The new White House Press Secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, is on the radar today.  This person has likely never in her life actually read a history book (I’m not sure she can even read big words), and yet she opens her mouth and speaks of those things of which she knows naught.

McEnanyThe following is from a June 3rd White House press briefing …

Reporter: Kayleigh, why did the president feel it was important to go walk over there through the park and to the church?

McEnany: It was extremely important. Look, the president wanted to send a very powerful message: That we will not be overcome by looting, by rioting, by burning. This is not what defines America. And going and standing by St. John’s church was a very important moment.

And I would note that throughout all of time, we’ve seen presidents and leaders across the world who’ve had leadership moments and very powerful symbols that were important for a nation to see at any given time to show a message of resilience and determination like Churchill, we saw him inspecting the bombing damage.

It sent a powerful message of leadership to the British people. And George W. Bush throwing out the ceremonial first pitch after 9/11, and Jimmy Carter, putting on a sweater to encourage energy savings, and George H.W. Bush signing the Americans with Disabilities Act flanked by two disabled Americans.

And for this president, it was powerful and important to send a message that the rioters, the looters, the anarchists, they will not prevail. That burning churches are not what America’s about, and that moment, holding the Bible up, is something that has been widely hailed by Franklin Graham and others, and it was a very important symbol for the American people to see that we will get through this through unity and through faith.

For the record, let me note that Trump is in no way, shape or form comparable to Winston Churchill, George W. Bush, Jimmy Carter, or George H.W. Bush.  Further let me note that the Franklin Graham she refers to is one of the most unconscionable idiots the nation has ever seen.  Sigh.  Idiots, the whole lot of ‘em.

Who is Joe Scarborough and Why Does He Matter?

Joe Scarborough is an American cable news and talk radio host. He is currently the co-host of Morning Joe on MSNBC, and previously hosted Scarborough Country on the same channel. Scarborough was previously a lawyer and a politician, and served in the United States House of Representatives from 1995 to 2001 as a Republican from the 1st district of Florida. Scarborough is also a visiting fellow at the Harvard Institute of Politics at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He was named in the 2011 Time 100 as one of the most influential people in the world. (Note that he is obviously a smart guy)

Scarborough resigned from the House of Representatives five months into his fourth term, in order to spend more time with his children … (Note that he is obviously a good guy)

“The realization has come home to me that they’re at a critical stage of their lives and I would rather be judged at the end of my life as a father than as a congressman.”

In an op-ed for The Washington Post in August 2016, Scarborough argued that the Republican Party must “dump Donald Trump” as their presidential candidate. Scarborough wrote: “A bloody line has been crossed that cannot be ignored. At long last, Donald Trump has left the Republican Party few options but to act decisively and get this political train wreck off the tracks before something terrible happens.” (Note again that he is a smart guy)

In June 2017, Scarborough and his co-host/fiancée Mika Brzezinski were the targets of Trump’s tweets, in which, in response to their coverage of his administration, referred to him as “Psycho Joe” and called her “low I.Q. Crazy Mika”, while asserting that she was “bleeding badly from a face-lift” when he previously encountered her at Mar-a-Lago. What a class act is Mr. Trump, eh? On July 11, 2017, Scarborough announced, not surprisingly, that he was leaving the Republican party to become an Independent. (Note yet a third time that he is a smart guy)

Why am I giving you this brief background report on Joe Scarborough? Because this evening, an OpEd he wrote for The Washington Post crossed my radar and I felt it warranted sharing on Filosofa’s Word.  But first, I wanted to establish that this man has the credentials, that he knows of what he speaks, that he is not just another talk show host.  Having established that, at least to my own satisfaction, here, in its entirety, is Mr. Scarborough’s opinion titled …

A Storm is Gathering 

By Joe Scarborough  December 28 at 7:50 PM

A storm is gathering, and there is every reason to believe that 2018 will be the most consequential political year of our lives.

The reckoning upon us follows a year mercifully drawing to a close this weekend. Over that horrid year, President Trump has questioned the legitimacy of federal judges, used Stalinist barbs to attack the free press and cast contempt on the rule of law, while his campaign manager, his national security adviser and a foreign policy aide have been marched into federal courts. Those anti-democratic instincts were made all the more ominous by his praising of autocrats across the world as they were ruthlessly consolidating power in countries such as Russia, China and the Philippines.

It is difficult to pinpoint the nadir for a man who has savaged Mexicans, Muslims and Gold Star mothers while fat-shaming beauty queens and face-shaming female news hosts (disclosure: in the latter example, my own fiancee ). But the low moment in this presidency may have occurred four months ago, when Trump claimed a moral equivalency between neo-Nazis and those standing against them. Or perhaps it was three weeks ago, when the president told Americans to vote for an accused child molester who had called our country the focus of evil in the modern world and once suggested opposition to the constitutional amendments that ended slavery and gave women the right to vote.

Others would surely consider the president’s malignant idiocy in foreign affairs to be the most damning legacy of his first year. World leaders continue to watch dumbstruck as the United States retreats from organizations that were created following the allies’ victory over Hitler. Those same alliances that Trump now undermines with reckless tweets and discarded treaties carried the United States to victory in the Cold War. But this is a White House that heaps contempt on history. And so, America’s dangerous retreat from the world continues.

“On the morrow of the Republican success isolationist conceptions prevailed,” Winston Churchill wrote in “The Gathering Storm.” The British prime minister believed Hitler’s rise proved, above all else, “how absolute is the need of a broad path of international action pursued by many states in common across the years, irrespective of the ebb and flow of national politics.” But this president is ripping apart the carefully woven fabric of U.S. foreign policy that bound administrations together from Franklin D. Roosevelt to Ronald Reagan to Barack Obama, and across the American century.

“The Gathering Storm” is on my holiday reading list because of Republican strategist Steve Schmidt’s insistence to me that Churchill’s ominous warnings to future generations will be more relevant to 2018 than at any time since it was written in the years after World War II. While Trump’s eroding of U.S. prestige across the globe is disturbing, it is his administration’s undermining of democratic values that poses an even greater threat to our Constitution and country. Borrowing again from Churchill, America’s constitutional norms tremble in the balance as Trump unleashes furious attacks on First Amendment protections, independent counsels and law enforcement officers who refuse to be bullied. While the framers of the Constitution foresaw the possibility of a tyrannical president, they never let their imaginations be darkened by the possibility of a compliant Congress.

Again, Churchill: “The malice of the wicked was reinforced by the weakness of the virtuous . . . They lived from hand to mouth and from day to day, and from one election to another . . . The cheers of weak, well-meaning assemblies soon cease to echo, and their votes soon cease to count. Doom marches on.”

Schmidt is right. The storm is gathering. And how we respond in the months ahead may determine our fate for years to come.