Cassidy Hutchinson – testimony exudes courage and honor

It was a privilege to see a public servant like Cassidy Hutchinson show political courage and honor her oath to the constitution. Her difficult testimony to the House select committee needs to be both commended and heeded. As former Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney said he knows Hutchinson and believes her. In contrast, people who know Mark Meadows and Donald Trump don’t believe them. Their history does not warrant such trust.

Her testimony and that of others through emails and texts on January 6, 2021, paints a “disgusting” picture of the former president’s seditious and deceitful actions leading up to the insurrection on a branch of government. Also, he showed little regard for the folks he endangered. Trump claims Mike Pence is a “wimp” and deserved be hanged shows a disturbing lack of character of the former president.

It will not surprise me if the former president and his allies are charged with seditious actions. He cannot blame anyone but himself for his actions.

*Note: The following article by Rex Huppke in The USA Today entitled “Cassidy Hutchinson puts her former boss and assorted Trump-supporting cowards to shame” is worth a quick read. This quote struck me:

“But until those calling Hutchinson a liar do what she did – testify under oath before a congressional committee – their words hold the combined worth of Trump Steaks, Trump Vodka, Trump Airlines and Trump University.

Monday, Monday – a few this and that(s)

Since our friend Jill recently posted “California Dreaming” by the Mamas and Papas, let me use the title of another one of their songs to begin the week. Here are few items to chew on for the week:

  • Since January 6, 2021, I have felt the political career of the former president is over. But, I felt it would take some time for the Republican party to figure that out. To be honest, it has taken a little longer, but that is due to active sycophants who are scared to tell the MAGA crowd the truth.
  • The great unraveling is occurring with donors getting tired of the “sh** show” as one referred to Trump’s antics and an increasing number of conservative icons speaking out. The latest is Brian Kilmeade, who is one of hosts on Fox and Friends. His criticism speaks volumes as he has fawned over Trump for years.
  • I also heard that Trump is riveted to the hearings and is in furor with no one there to defend the indefensible – that Trump betrayed his country. He is blaming everyone else but the guy watching the TV from his home. The fact he is not accountable for his own actions has long been a weakness of the former president, but we have to remember his mentor, attorney Roy Cohn told him to “never apologize and to sue everyone” per his biographers.
  • I do think the odds-on favorite to the GOP nomination in 2024 is Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida. As an independent, this troubles me as I see a more effective mini-Trump in DeSantis who bullies people into acquiescence. The GOP could do much better with ex-govenors Mitch Daniels or John Kasich, but they do not stand a chance in hell, given they are more moderate and collaborative. Like Trump, the truth is a foreign currency to DeSantis, even before becoming governor.
  • SCOTUS has made two horrible rulings the past ten days to appease two different crowds of people. Roe v. Wade being changed gets the most notoriety. They took a fifty-year-old law that had been reduced to a workable framework and decided to gut it. So, now we will have a confederation of state laws. What is interesting to me, there were enough votes in Congress to pass some continuation of Roe v. Wade and may still be there, but it will require very narrow focus and not an expanded one. I think once Republicans realize this ruling is not a winner, some may want to come to the table, but that window for change may have closed.
  • The second ruling allowed people to more openly carry a gun overturning a New York law. This occurred a few days before Congress passed some watered governance changes, but at least they did do something. The SCOTUS ruling concerns me as mixing testosterone, alcohol and a firearms means more gun deaths. Mixing depression and gun access means more suicides. To be frank, people carrying guns does not make me feel safer given the temperature of too many in our country. People wound too tight might shoot first and talk second.
  • As for shootings, the beat goes on. More occurred yesterday. Plus, the US has exported mass shootings to other civilized countries, Norway being the most recent example. Given our fascination with guns and freedoms to use them, I truly don’t think we will ever solve this problem unless we make more demonstrative changes. I am glad something was done, but it was not near enough. But, it is a start. Sadly, the SCOTUS ruling may erase the chalk on the board where the new law is written.

That is all for now. Let me know your thoughts.

Mark Shields, longtime voice of reason has passed

For the longest time, my Friday ritual was to end the news week watching the commentary of conservative minded David Brooks and liberal minded Mark Shields. Their banter exemplified the civil discourse of their host PBS NewsHour, whether the discussion was led by Judy Woodruff or the now deceased Gwen Ifill or Jim Lehrer.

Sadly, I learned Mark Shields passed away last week. Shields was an affable historian and shared his opinion and added context to any discussion. He commented on PBS NewsHour for thirty-three years, the last twenty of which with Brooks. As Brooks noted in a piece in The New York Times:

“We’ve had thousands of disagreements over the years, but never a second of acrimony. Mark radiates a generosity of spirit that improves all who come within his light.” We all could learn from this.

Judy Woodruff, “PBS NewsHour” anchor and managing editor, tweeted that she was ”heartbroken” to share the news of Shields’ death, and noted his wife Anne was at his side at his death. For decades, she said, Shields “wowed us with his encyclopedic knowledge of American politics, his sense of humor and mainly his big heart.”

Shields retired from the show a couple of years ago. Brooks would continue on with the terrific Jonathan Capeheart, but it is not the same. It is like one of a long time couple has passed and the new spouse is nice, but you don’t have history with the person. Rest in peace, Mark Shields. You were one of our lights on the hill.

Letter to the editor – concerns over attacks on others

I sent the following brief letter to my newspaper this weekend. It will likely go unprinted, but I want to share it with you in case you would like to modify and use. Maybe it will get printed somewhere.

Reading about the increase in verbal and physical attacks on LGBTQ+ citizens or the denigration of the rights of women or people of color concern me. This is especially troubling when it comes from people who espouse the teachings of Jesus. When he said treat others like you want to be treated, he offered no caveats. Full stop. If we would only follow that one rule, which is so important it is called “golden” and also appears in in other religious texts, we would be in a much better place with our civility. We have two ears and one mouth, we should use them in that proportion. We all deserve such treatment.

People died for our country to preserve the freedoms for all its citizens. That guy Jesus chose to spend most of his time speaking to and hanging out with the disenfranchised people in his time. We should remind ourselves why would they choose to do that. Our country has had fits and starts of trying to live up to our ideals. Yet, we should never stop trying to be the best version of ourselves.

Testimony of Judge Michael Luttig to House Select Committee

In an article called “Politico Playbook: Exclusive – the words Luttig wants to be remembered” by Ryan Lizza and Eugene Daniels, the important testimony to the House Select Committee of an ultra-conservative judge named Michael Luttig are highlighted. Note, he is being ridiculed by those who don’t want you to hear or read his words saying he said them too slowly and poorly, but the message is true and important for our country to hear.

The best message need not be the most articulate. Here are a few paragraphs:

“DONALD TRUMP and his allies and supporters are a clear and present danger to American democracy.

January 6 was a war for America’s democracy. It was an immoral war instigated and prosecuted by Donald Trump and his political party allies and supporters.

There were many cowards on the battlefield of the United States Capitol that day, and we have heard much about their failed efforts to undermine our democracy. We have heard comparatively little about the patriotic bravery of the heroes who defended our democracy against those who sought to undermine our democracy that fateful day.

There comes a time in every single life — whether personal or public — when one is summoned to stand, bear witness, and affirm what he or she believes and does not believe. That is our moment of calling. Their witness, whether they be parent, relative, friend, loved one, or military or law enforcement defender, almost always comes at great personal sacrifice and cost.”

His words need to be heard. They need to be heeded. I like the fact he used the phrase about Trump and his sycophants being a “clear and present danger to American democracy.” I like the fact he used the words “cowards on the battlefield” as I have long felt that the former president is long on false bravado and short on actual bravery. Hearing Trump call Mike Pence a “wimp” because he would not break the law, amuses me as here is a person who has too fragile an ego to man-up and admit he lost an election.

I shared these paragraphs with my two Senators with one more plea to condemn the former president for his Big Lie and instigating the insurrection. Please feel free to do so with yours. I also want you to pay attention to the zeal of some Trump allies to denigrate the House Select Committee, as there are members of Congress who have some explaining to do about their role in the insurrection. Like the preacher who has sinned, they will be the most ardent in their criticism to avoid discovery.

It would not surprise me to see Trump and his allies brought up on charges. I actually think our country needs to do this as we cannot have a president acting like a king. That is not what we are all about.

https://www.politico.com/newsletters/playbook/2022/06/18/exclusive-the-words-luttig-wants-to-be-remembered-00040701

Summer of 1969 – a few things to remember (a reprise)

Last week, our friend Jill posted a more detail write-up (link at end) on Brian Adams’ song “Summer of ’69′” that is worth the read. At the back end of the following repeat post I made during the year’s 50th anniversary, there are few paragraphs on events during that year.

While 1968 was a year of significant occurrences, we are now reflecting on the events of fifity years ago in 1969. Bryan Adams sang of this year from a personal standpoint in “Summer of ’69,” so it is a great way to kick off:

“I got my first real six-string
Bought it at the five-and-dime
Played it till my fingers bled
It was the summer of ’69
Me and some guys from school
Had a band and we tried real hard
Jimmy quit and Jody got married
I should’ve known we’d never get far
Oh when I look back now
That summer seemed to last forever
And if I had the choice
Ya I’d always want to be there
Those were the best days of my life”

This song was penned by Adams and James Douglas Vallance and reveals how the band was so important to the life of the singer. Yet, I find of interest how he interjects how life rears its head and alters the dreams. I do not know how autobiographical the song is, but I am glad Adams stuck with it, as he has crafted and performed many memorable songs.

Fifty years ago, we saw the final straw that caused action to occur on environmental protection. Following the reaction to Rachel Carson’s push with ‘Silent Spring,” the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland caught fire as it was so polluted by chemical dumping. Seeing this in retrospect, it amazes me that companies would dump or drain chemical run-off into a river and be surprised by the result. Within six months, President Nixon inked the law to create the Environmental Protection Agency, one of his two greatest accomplishments (opening dialogue with China was the other).

Later this summer, we will reflect on Neil Armstrong taking “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind,” as he is the first human to walk on the moon. Buzz Aldrin would soon join him for a lunar walkabout. These actions opened up science as a possible career for many young people and it also showed us that we are mere occupants on our planet. So, it is crucial we take care of where we live for our children and grandchildren. Maybe this helped provide additional context for enacting the EPA.

In August, will be the fiftieth anniversary of Woodstock where 300,000 or so people ventured to a farm in upstate New York for a three day concert. This event still amazes me and I am intrigued by a friend’s recounting of what happened as he was there as a young college student. From his view, he remembers there were so many people, things like food, water and restrooms were dear. He recalls making food runs for people. The music and atmosphere were wonderful, but the challenges are overlooked in memory.

Finally, people who do not follow baseball or football will yawn, but this was the year of two huge upsets, which in actuality, should not have been as surprising. In January, Broadway Joe Namath led the New York Jets over the heavily favored Baltimore Colts in the Super Bowl. Namath had bragged that they would win the game the preceding week, but what many failed to realize, Namath had a terrific set of receivers and two of the best running backs in the game. This win led to the merger of two rival football leagues.

In October, the New York Mets easily won the baseball World Series over the heavily favored Baltimore Orioles (it was a tough year for Baltimore fans). For the first part of the decade, the new Mets were the worst team in baseball. What was underestimated by the Orioles is the Mets had two future Hall of Fame pitchers – Tom Seaver and Nolan Ryan and another excellent one in Jerry Koosman. Good pitching will beat good hitting almost every time. I mention these two events as when you look under the hood, the outcomes are less surprising, even though they were at the time.

The decade ended with two eventful years. Unfortunately, the US remained in Vietnam fighting a war which, we learned later, we knew we could not win. Many Americans and Vietnamese died, as a result fighting a war that would last several more years. We should remember people die in wars, before we go out and fight another one. As a Vietnamese soldier said in Ken Burns’ documentary on the war, people who feel they can win a war, have never fought in one.

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

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 mask his own actions of sedition and deceit. It will not surprise me if the former president is brought up on charges by the Attorney General after this for his role in the insurrection. It will not surprise me if a few congressmen are brought up as well.
  • I truly would hate to be Joe Biden right now. This imperfect man has Republicans who are told to blame him for everything, pretty much in lock step, and he has progressives who do not like that he is not going far enough. So, he will continually get low marks on ratings as he truly cannot win. Has he made mistakes? Yes. Is he as bad as being portrayed? No. And, after the deceitful, bullying, seditious and denigrating actions of his predecessor, he is truly a breath of normalcy.
  • Boris Johnson needs to say a prayer every night and thank Vladimir Putin for getting him off the front page with negative news about him. Putin has become what he should always have been known as, a pariah in the world. It is no one else’s fault but Putin’s for the invasion. I miss that Senator John McCain has passed away, as he was Putin’s largest nemesis and he would be all over this issue. McCain would also be all over the former US president.

That is enough wind-blowing for now. Tuesday’s gone with the wind…

Short note to Republican Congressman after more disturbing remarks

The following is a note I posted on my Republican Congressman’s website after reading his comments that the House Select Committee was traitorous and not the subject of why they were formed. It should be noted this is just one more example why I did not vote for this person. I truly am long past weary of people who swore an oath to the constitution kowtowing more to a person who betrayed his country, in my view.

Congressman, as an independent and former Republican, seeing your remarks on Newsmaxx about the House Select Committee is highly disappointing and disturbing. We must get to the bottom of what happened during this insurrection and hold people to account, full stop.

There are only two Republicans on the committee because Kevin McCarthy nominated several folks who had conflicts of interest. A simple question is if people are so innocent, why did several GOP members of Congress ask for a pardon in the former president’s final days.

To be frank, from what I witnessed and have read, it would not surprise me if the former president is brought up on charges. He instigated this insurrection with his bogus and unproven election fraud claims, and invited and incited people to besiege the Capitol. I am glad you and others survived, but some were not so fortunate.

We need a viable Conservative party but following the former president while vilifying the truth tellers is not the best path forward. Please reconsider your stance on this. As Liz Cheney correctly said “There will come a day when Donald Trump is gone, but your dishonor will remain.” Republicans must get back on better footing.

Murdoch newspaper tells the GOP to move on from the former president

In an article called “Trump ‘refuses to accept reality’: Murdoch newspaper says it’s time for GOP to move on” by Bob Brigham of Raw Story notes Rupert Murdoch’s New York tabloid took the former president to task for his continual focus on these bogus election fraud claims. Here is the gist of the article. Note I won’t repeat the former president’s ongoing BS, as his Attorney General Bill Barr called them to his face before he was fired.

“The newspaper said Trump was wrong (about the January 6 insurrection being a hoax)

‘It wasn’t, of course. It was a national shame. One that neither Democrats nor Trump can stop obsessing over. It’s time for Republicans to move on,’ the newspaper counseled. ‘But Trump has become a prisoner of his own ego. He can’t admit his tweeting and narcissism turned off millions. He won’t stop insisting that 2020 was ‘stolen’ even though he’s offered no proof that it’s true.’

The editorial board wrote the expected 2024 presidential candidate is unfit for the job.

‘Respected officials like former Attorney General Bill Barr call his rants ‘nonsense.’ This isn’t just about Liz Cheney. Mitch McConnell, Betsy DeVos, Mark Meadows — they all knew Trump was delusional. His own daughter and son-in-law testified it was bull,” the NY Post wrote. ‘Meanwhile, reports that Trump was pleased that the Jan. 6 crowd chanted for Vice President Mike Pence to be hanged — a truly reprehensible sentiment — makes him unworthy for the office. Trump can’t look past 2020. Let him remain there.'”

There is really not much to add here. This is a pro-Trump publication telling the former president to just STFU. And, the GOP to move on from these bogus claims.

Just remember a couple of keys

Tonight, the US House commission that has been investigating the January 6 insurrection against Congress will be presenting its findings. This should be taken quite seriously as these folks went through a mountain of data and testimony. Before Republicans discount the findings to try and save face, please remember two Republicans (Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger) are on the Committee and there would have been more except Kevin McCarthy appointed a couple of folks whose names came up in the investigation. That is a conflict of interest.

Setting the details aside, please remember a couple of keys:

  • this happened at the instigation of the former president based on his fabrication of election fraud he planned to do well before the election and he has miserably been unable to prove.
  • this happened because a former president invited and incited people to do his bidding to remain in office.
  • people who are trying to play this down must be reminded that several hundreds of people that participated in the insurrection have been charged, many have pleaded guilty, some have been found guilty and many have served time.
  • people who try to equate this to an Antifa riot should be reminded that this was on the Capitol building and our elected leaders were in danger to serve the interests of the former president.
  • this unrest and heightened incivility is largely due to a former president whose fragile ego cannot tolerate losing an election. His niece said her uncle will “burn it all down to avoid losing an election.”
  • finally, we cannot have this happen again, full stop. We have mechanisms for civil redress and discourse. Instigating an insurrection is not something that should ever happen again.

The findings will likely link the former president, his staff, and several Congressman to the insurrection. From what I have read, I am expecting to hear some names of elected officials who aided and abetted this crime against our country. We shall see what happens.