I remember when (an update of an older post)

As I dressed for a long walk this morning, I was reminded of an old dressing habit. This prompted a reflective post (you can hum Nat King Cole’s “I remember you” as you read with me):

I remember when we used to cut the tops off athletic socks to make footies, as they did not make those when I was growing up, at least for boys and men.

I remember when phones were dialed and not keyed; if you did not complete the dial, the phone might call the wrong number.

I remember when there were three serious US news anchors whose words were gospel; Nixon once said when he lost Walter Cronkite, he lost the country.

I remember a time when we lived in blissful ignorance that all priests, pastors and evangelists were above board and not participating in criminal behavior.

I remember when both parties cared that the US President was exactly what he said he was not; Nixon said “I am not a crook,” but that was a lie.

I remember when Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King were assasinated, but was too young to remember JFK’s.

I remember when a country trio named the Dixie Chicks were condemned for sharing their concerns about the false pretenses of the US invasion of Iraq. The fact they had a right to do so is lost on many, but the fact they were dead-on accurate in their concerns, as determined by a British commission years later (which noted George Bush and British PM Tony Blair misled the British people), should not be set aside either.

I remember the moon landing and Neil Armstrong’s words of “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” Sadly, I remember the Challenger blowing up with citizen astronauts aboard. It showed how difficult it is to leave and return to our planet.

I remember when a president was vilified for not wearing a flag pin and yet, some of those same people think it was alright for a later president to openly lie to the American people and invite and incite insurrectionists to storm the Capitol building because he could not face the music that he lost the election. But, the insurrectionist at least like to hug the flag.

I remember when the US celebrated its bicentennial and when we prepared for computers programmed in Cobol to recognize the new millennium.

On this last comment, my wife and I hosted a New Millennium Eve party. We got so interested in shooting fireworks with the kids, we forgot to put the lamb in the oven. That was the only time we cooked lamb, and almost did not then. We were eating at midnight when the year 2000 rolled in.

I hope I spawned some memories. Please share a few of yours. I remember when…

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Three tragedies bring it home

There were three separate tragedies around the world that took the lives of multiple hundreds of people and harming even more. In Somalia, there was a terrible massacre of 100 innocent folks due to two car bombings by a rebellious group. I will not give credence to the group by naming them. In India, a pedestrian bridge collapsed killing 135 people. And, in South Korea, at a Halloween festival, about 154 people were crushed in a “stampede” of the panicked and overcrowded gathering.

In India, the 137 year-old suspension bridge had just reopened after repairs. In South Korea, the police said they had “heavy responsibility” for the stampede as they did not act enough to concerns over crowd size.

It pains me to see innocent people killed because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. With 9/11, many Americans died because they either went to work like they always do or hopped on the wrong plane that day. Plus, with shooting massacres, Americans just get in the way of an extreme or challenged individual in possession of a rapid-fire weapon.

It is sad that we have to be so alert these days to our surroundings. Going to school, work, the mall or a party or just walking across a bridge should not be a threat. These three incidents highlight how dear and precious our lives are. Incumbent leaders offering thoughts and prayers is woefully inadequate, as some actions could have been taken in advance to make folks more mindful. At least the Seoul police acknowledge their mistake.

Anytime I see crowds crushing folks to death, it reminds me that putting too many people in the same space with limited exits that funnel out is not a good thing. I am reminded of fire marshals being concerned about occupancy. What we citizens fail to realize is the occupancy is more to do with the ability to exit a place on fire. The same must hold true with crowd size at events, whether the tragedy is related to violence or other mania.

What we can do about this as patrons is be mindful of where exits are. How do we get out of here if something amiss happens? Plus, if you feel you are being squashed with too many people in attendance, leaving should be a consideration. At a Who concert in Cincinnati, about ten folks were crushed to death as the band played. At a wedding, too many people were on a hotel balcony and it fell on other reception attendees.

We also must demand of our elected officials actions to make us safe. Words are cheap. We need better gun governance to make people safer. We need better auditing and review of highway, train and pedestrian bridges to avoid problems. Here in the states, so called leaders will ask after a tragedy, how could you let this happen? The answer usually includes lack of funds to repair things, so patchwork fixes are used for years. In other words, elected officials cut funding to prevent a problem. I am not saying that is what happened in India, but it would not surprise me if it was.

As for the rebels, these become hard ones to deal with as it is hard to determine whose cause is more righteous. But, one thing is for certain in my view. Killing innocent people is not appropriate. It is murder, no matter who does it. It matters not who has been gaslighted into thinking their cause is more righteous. One thing I have long noticed is it usually is the older cult members who talk the more malleable young members into driving bomb laden vehicles and strapping on bombs. Think about that. The best line from the movie “Troy” is “war is old men talking and young men dying.”

Be safe out there. Take a few steps to plan exits and ascertain if there may be an undue risk. And, don’t let a day pass without telling your family that you love them or giving them a hug or heartfelt goodbye.

Note: Our British friend Roger posted the following on the subject of the Somalia bombings.

A coverup of treason?

‘”Coverup of treason’: Trump-appointed IG, facing investigation, was aware of missing Secret Service and DHS texts far earlier” by David Badash of Alternet is a blaring headline I saw across my browser feed. A few paragraphs tell the story, with a link to the full article below.

“The Dept. of Homeland Security scandal is growing larger, with its embattled Inspector General increasingly appearing to be at the center of what one noted political scientist is calling a ‘coverup of treason.’

DHS Inspector General Joseph Cuffari, appointed by then-President Donald Trump in 2019, was aware of Secret Service agents’ deleted text messages from January 5 and 6, 2021, and deleted texts from top Homeland Security officials, months earlier than first disclosed, according to reports from CNN and The Washington Post.

‘Earlier this month, Secret Service officials told congressional committees that DHS Inspector General Joseph Cuffari, the department’s independent watchdog, was aware that texts had been erased in December 2021,’ CNN reports. ‘But sources tell CNN, the Secret Service had notified Cuffari’s office of missing text messages in May 2021, seven months earlier.’

That means that four months after the January 6 insurrection the Dept. of Homeland Security knew Secret Service agents’ text messages, from the day before and day of the attack on the U.S. Capitol, were missing and did not inform Congress or the National Archives, which is required by law to retain those records.”

There are several observations to be made here. First, what forced President Richard Nixon to resign and sent forty-eight (per Wikipedia) others to jail as much as the Watergate crimes committed was the coverup. Second, members of the Secret Service have been acting very inconsistently since the testimony by Cassidy Hutchinson on the former president Donald Trump trying to grab the steering wheel in anger when told he could not go to the Capitol building as it was not safe. Third, what several fellow bloggers and I have discussed from well before the insurrection and bogus election fraud claims, is what happens beneath the surface of Donald Trump’s world is likely far worse than actually known.

The last statement is indeed opinion, but it has been his history to market and merchandise himself, so a great deal of his energy and effort is to protect his brand name when he screws up. Of course, he his loathe to admit he makes mistakes, per his five biographers. This is why he has a fixer, one of whom testified under oath that “Donald Trump is a racist, he is a con-artist and he is cheat.”

And, quite often, others are taken down as his foils and suffer the consequences. His nickname is “Teflon Don” for a reason. Blame others to escape culpability. Right now, his last Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows is in the cross hairs, but maybe he will throw Joseph Cuffari under the bus as well.

Finally, what frightens current and departing sycophants of Donald Trump is what lies beneath the surface. They have no idea what they will have to defend tomorrow or the next week or the next month. And, what is more frightening are these sins and crimes have already been committed, so it is a matter of discovery not committal.

Conservative Wall Street Journal headline: “The President Who Stood Still on Jan. 6”

In a RawStory piece on a recent The Wall Street Journal editorial, “Donald Trump has lost the confidence of both of the major newspapers owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation.” The RawStory piece is called “‘Incitement by silence’: Rupert Murdoch’s newspapers blister Trump after J6 hearings” and can be linked to below.

Under the headline, “The President Who Stood Still on Jan. 6,” The Wall Street Journal editorial board harshly criticized the former president.

‘No matter your views of the Jan. 6 special committee, the facts it is laying out in hearings are sobering. The most horrifying to date came Thursday in a hearing on President Trump’s conduct as the riot raged and he sat watching TV, posting inflammatory tweets and refusing to send help,’ the editorial board wrote.

‘The committee’s critics are right that it lacks political balance,’ the newspaper wrote. ‘Still, the brute facts remain: Mr. Trump took an oath to defend the Constitution, and he had a duty as Commander in Chief to protect the Capitol from a mob attacking it in his name. He refused. He didn’t call the military to send help. He didn’t call Mr. Pence to check on the safety of his loyal VP. Instead he fed the mob’s anger and let the riot play out.’

The editorial concluded, ‘Character is revealed in a crisis, and Mr. Pence passed his Jan. 6 trial. Mr. Trump utterly failed his.'”

There is really not much more to say except this is the paragon of conservative leaning publications in America and many of the folks who have testified under oath are, in fact, Republicans. Now, why would these folks do that, especially knowing they would be vilified by the former president and his sycophants?

Fox News legal analyst calls out the former president about the insurrection

“‘Breathtaking’: Fox News analyst says latest Jan 6 hearing ‘should shock everyone’” by Gustaf Kilander reveals an increasing number of folks who are calling the former president out on his role in the insurrection. A few paragraphs will provide a few key points of just the latest condemnation on Fox News, of all places.

“Fox News legal analyst Jonathan Turley said that the seventh hearing of the January 6 committee was ‘breathtaking’.

Mr Turley shared his sense of shock at the revelations concerning former President Donald Trump and his December 18 2020 meeting at the White House discussing how to overturn the election with his allies.

‘It’s … damaging,’ Mr Turley said in reaction to the pre-recorded deposition with Trump White House Counsel Pat Cipollone. ‘The account of that meeting in the [Oval] Office is really breathtaking. It’s very disturbing.’

‘At one point, there was a suggestion that there might be fisticuffs,’ he noted. ‘It’s almost like this is Dr Strangelove and the president is saying there is no fighting in the war room. It was just a bizarre moment.’

‘You’re in the Oval Office and people seem to be actually chest pounding. So this is very disturbing. All of these details should disturb everyone,’ Mr Turley said.

A major focus of the hearing was Mr Trump’s 19 December tweet about a ‘big protest’ at the coming joint session of Congress: ‘Be there, will be wild!

Florida Representative Stephanie Murphy said the tweet ‘served as a call to action and in some cases as a call to arms’. She said the president ‘called for backup’ as he said Vice President Mike Pence and other Republicans didn’t have enough courage to try to block President Joe Biden’s win at the January 6 joint session.

The tweet ‘electrified and galvanized’ Mr Trump’s supporters, said Maryland Representative Jamie Raskin, especially ‘the dangerous extremists in the Oath Keepers, the Proud Boys and other racist and white nationalist groups spoiling for a fight’.

Mr Raskin said Mr Trump emboldened the groups around a common goal. ‘Never before in American history had a president called for a crowd to come contest the counting of electoral votes by Congress,’ he said.

The committee spliced together video clips from interviews to describe a meeting from December 18, in the hours before Mr Trump’s tweet, in almost minute-to-minute fashion.

Former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson, who testified live before the panel two weeks ago, called the meeting between White House aides and informal advisers pushing the fraud claims ‘unhinged’ in a text that evening to another Trump aide. Other aides described ‘screaming’ as the advisers floated wild theories of election fraud with no evidence to back them up, and as White House lawyers aggressively pushed back.”

The words I focus on are “disturbing” which is used several times and “unhinged” which is even more descriptive. Unhinged is a word that best describes a toddler when he is doing a hissy-fit. The toddler did not get his way and so he has flung himself on the floor in front of everyone and is screaming bloody murder. Think of this visual, when you see or hear the words of the former president. “I didn’t lose. They stole it from me. I won by a long shot.”

We just need the House Select committee and the Justice Department to send Donald to his room. And, while unhinged is more colorful, another apt word is more repulsive – seditionist.

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.

Republican Rep. Liz Cheney says to party – stop enabling white supremacy

In the USA Today, a Republican Congresswoman spoke critically of her party’s leadership following the racist mass shooting incident in Buffalo. Here are the first few paragraphs of an article called “After Buffalo shooting, Liz Cheney tells Republicans to stop enabling white supremacy” by David Jackson.

U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney, who has long attacked Republican Party leadership for following Donald Trump, went after GOP officials on Monday for racism in the wake of the Buffalo shooting.

‘The House GOP leadership has enabled white nationalism, white supremacy, and anti-semitism,’ Cheney tweeted. ‘History has taught us that what begins with words ends in far worse. @GOP leaders must renounce and reject these views and those who hold them.’

The tweet came two days after an 18-year-old man who had expressed fears of racial ‘replacement theory‘ shot and killed 10 people and wounded three others at a supermarket in Buffalo. Most of the victims are Black, including a security guard, store employees and weekend shoppers.

Cheney’s frequent criticisms of the party has earned her a Republican primary challenger backed by Trump.

As noted before, I do not agree with many policies of Cheney’s, but I tremendously admire her courage in speaking out the truth in the face of a vindictive group of supporters and including the former president. She knows she is going to get death threats, but continues to speak out. That equation seems to be lost on her critics.

Let me say the following. All Republicans are not racist and that should not be construed from her comments. But, it is also clear white supremacists have been emboldened by the former president and are welcomed into the party tent. And, if people do not think I am being fair to the former president, Michael Cohen, his attorney/ fixer, said about his boss under oath, “Donald Trump is a racist, he is a con-artist and he is a cheat.” The fact he led with racist has always been of interest to me.

Heinous things going on in Ukraine

Two news reports out of Ukraine the last two days disturbed me. The first was on CBS’ “60 Minutes” and the second was on the regular newscast of BBC World News America. I will not go into detail, just highlight the gist of these heinous things.

The news of the Russian troops Bucha Massacre has already hit the news. But, on CBS this past Sunday, we saw President Zelenskyy touring the area with tears and anger on his face. Vladimir Putin says he is not targeting civilians. Like most of what Putin says, that is not to believed. Zelenskyy notes that downed Russian pilots have been found with maps of civilian targets. Putin was trained as a KGB agent in the art of disinformation. That speaks volumes.

The second news piece was of the raping and killing of Ukrainian women by Russian soldiers. It was not unusual for the husband to be killed while the wife was being raped in a house next door. It was not unusual for the wife to be killed after being raped, sometimes with her throat slit. I am not saying all Russian troops are doing this, nor are those telling the stories. One woman said some of the troops are bad, some are good and some are evil. The acts, though, are heinoous.

Followers take on the personality of its leaders. If the leaders support, tolerate or look the other way, the soldiers can do heinous things. Targeting civilians, especially hospitals, is criminal in my view. History shows that civilian sites sometimes got bombed by accident, but the magnitude and extent of the bombing in this case, reveals an amoral and malevolent autocrat at the top of the heap condoning, if not supporting the action.

Let me also note I am not too keen on American opinion hosts and conspiracy parrots helping to whitewash what is going on here. That includes the recurringly untruthful former president, who admires the amoral and malevolent autocrat. Why is a question that should be asked? Of course, I am not too keen on these folks, in general, as to me they are misusing their power to disinform and misinform. Like with Putin, take what these conspiracy parrots say with a grain of salt. Believing what folks like Trump, DeSantis, Greene, Cawthorn, Boehbert, Gosar, Carlson, Ingraham, Jones et al say is a fool’s errand. That is what I think.

Capital Riots – Oath Keepers’ leader pleads guilty to trying to overthrow the US government

In an article called “Capitol riots: Far-right leader pleads guilty to trying to overthrow government” by Isabel Keane of Metro, a first important shoe dropped on a more serious set of charges of seditious conspiracy for the January 6 insurrection.

“The leader of the Alabama chapter of the right-wing Oath Keepers militia group pleaded guilty Wednesday in federal court to charges of seditious conspiracy and obstruction related to the January 6 attack on the US Capitol by supporters of former President Donald Trump.

Joshua James, 34, pleaded guilty to the charges stemming from his role in leading the assault on the Capitol, the US Department of Justice announced in a news release on Wednesday.

He is the first person involved in the deadly assault on the US Capitol to be convicted of seditious conspiracy, a rarely used charge considered to be a serious but lesser form of treason.

James, a co-defendant in a criminal case involving Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes, pleaded guilty Wednesday, which could potentially cause issues for the 10 others named in the criminal case accused of working to prevent the the transfer of presidential power to Joe Biden following his win against Trump.”

Also this week, a report put forth by the House Committee noted there is evidence the former president is guilty of criminal conspiracy. It will be up to the Justice Department to decide if they want to bring charges. This is not a witch hunt, nor was the insurrection a false flag operation as evidenced by this and other guilty pleas. We cannot allow people to try and overthrow our government to alter the outcome of a fair election, especially for someone who has failed to prove any wrong-doing after loads of money were poured into trying to do so and losing all but one court case out of 65 or so and every vote recount, audit and review.

If that were not enough, the people who funded the legal costs of the lawsuits for Trump want their money back as they felt they were misled. That, and the fact, Giuliani and other attorneys had their law licenses suspended for bringing frivolous cases. Today, the former president is lashing out at his Attorney General William Barr because he repeated the known story that he told the former president his election fraud claims were bulls**t.”

Wednesday wanderings in early March – Ukraine focused

It looks like a beautiful day here, but like many I am glued to the news of what is happening in Ukraine. As for here, last night all three of our adult children gathered with us and it was a delight to hear and participate in the conversation.

Here are a few wanderings for this first Wednesday in March.

-I read where China delegates are having conversation with Ukraine leaders. That has to stick in the craw of the malevolent acting autocrat in Moscow.

-I also read Trump’s former National Security Advisor John Bolton said Trump would not have stood in Putin’s way if he invaded Ukraine on Trump’s watch. I have no trouble believing that to be true, as Putin could steer Trump any way he wanted.

-The Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky is doing what a leader should do. He is right there with his people telling the Russians and their malevolent acting autocrat we will not back down. Ukraine may not prevail, but one has to admire Zelensky and his people’s moxie.

-I read that Russia may start defaulting on debts if the invasion takes too long. Long military campaigns cost money and that is money Russia does not have a lot to spare. The Russian people know this even though they are mostly too scared to go out with the tens of thousands protestors and say so given the 6,000 arrests.

-Again, the malevolent acting autocrat may prevail on the military side, but he has already lost big time. In the course of two weeks, he has managed to galvanize NATO and the EU and show to the world the kind of person he is. Future investment in his country will return at some point, but it may take longer this time.

-Finally, per my previous post, please listen to and watch people on the news and opinion shows who know what they are talking about. Former Moscow bureau chief for Fox Jennfier Griffin and Dr. Fiona Hill are two experts on Russia and are among a handful worth listening to. The last people to listen to are opinion hosts who are more entertainers than news people, especially when they are not known for being truthful.

As Senator Mitt Romney said on Sunday, supporting a leader of another country who is bent on taking freedoms away is not something to admire. We should be firmly against this kind of tyranny. Sadly, those who are so doing are acquiescing to a former president who admires that type of aggression and that kind of leader.