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

The truth will set you free

The former president said the following at a rally this past weekend in Selma, NC advocating for some candidates also not known for telling the truth on a recurring basis. “I’m the most honest human being perhaps that God ever created.” Who knew? The sad fact is there are too many of his base that believe this BS.

Our blogging friend Clive either created or repeated the following line about the former president. George Washington could not tell a lie. Richard Nixon could not tell the truth. Donald Trump does not know the difference.

After the above quote hit the newspapers, my wife asked me does he know he is lying? I said a little bit of both. Saying a variation of the above theme, Donald Trump lies so much, he does not know where the truth stops and the lies begin. He does tell the truth sometimes when it works in his favor, but even then he will embellish his role for good things or minimize it when bad.

One of my favorite corrections from a reporter came when the former president said for umpteenth time that he signed a particular bill making it a law. After hearing this that many times, a reporter finally asked you are aware that law was signed in 2014 and you were not president until January, 2017?

What also saddens me, is not only has the former president helped further divide our country, he has helped divide families. A person wrote into Dear Abby yesterday saying she is no longer on speaking terms with a beloved relative because of the strident views and argumentative nature that now exists in too many people who believe things that just are not true. To cover or rationalize for the untruthful bent of the former president, it requires others to aid and abet his lies.

The fact of the matter is it is well-documented that the former president is largely untruthful, by actual fact-checking and numerous personal vignettes from people who know him. I have often quoted attorney Thomas Wells who worked for Trump for years who said “Donald Trump lies every day, even about things of no consequence.” That does not sound like a person God would be happy with.

SC Republican Congressman responds to former president’s criticism

In an article in The Hill yesterday by Lexi Lonas called “GOP Congressman calls Trump a ‘would be tyrant,'” Republican US congressman Tom Rice (S.C.) responded to the former president in a statement on Saturday following a MAGA rally in South Carolina, calling him “a would-be tyrant.”

“In a statement following the rally, Rice hit back at Trump, saying the former president was in South Carolina ‘because, like no one else I’ve ever met, he is consumed by spite,’ according to local CBS affiliate WBTW.

‘I took one vote he didn’t like and now he’s chosen to support a yes man candidate who has and will bow to anything he says, no matter what,’ Rice said.

‘If you want a Congressman who supports political violence in Ukraine or in the United States Capitol, who supports party over country, who supports a would-be tyrant over the Constitution, and who makes decisions based solely on re-election, then Russell Fry is your candidate,’ Rice said in his statement.

If you want a Congressman who cowers to no man, who votes for what is right, even when it’s hard, and who has fought like hell for the Grand Strand and Pee Dee*, then I hope to earn your vote,’ he continued.”

Several authors and reporters have written about the vindictive nature of the former president, one writing that he keeps lists of offenders close by, so he can punish them. I have no difficulty believing this to be true. There is a reason the former president admires the Russian autocrat who is invading Ukraine.

There is a steady trickle of Republicans who feel impunity in pushing back on the former president or his sycophants. This pace of the trickle needs to hasten.

*Note: For those not familiar with SC references, the Grand Strand references the beaches along the SC coast and Pee Dee is a major river that bisects the coastal region.

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/gop-congressman-calls-trump-a-would-be-tyrant/ar-AAUZzzY?ocid=msedgntp

GOP and Trump – a letter to the editor

My newpaper ran an edited version of my letter to the editor today. Here it is for your review, edit and use, if you so choose.

“The former president is continuing his Big Lie that the election was stolen from him. It’s a claim he has been very unsuccessful in proving, losing all of his recounts, audits and reviews and winning only one court case out of 65 or so.

Some of his funders have asked for their money back feeling they were misled. Sadly, so were the folks who felt emboldened to storm the Capitol to overturn the election. More than a few will go to jail, rightfully so.

It is past time for Republican leaders to follow the political courage of folks like U.S. Reps. Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger and tell the former president to ‘man-up, you lost.’

The Republican Party needs to right this ship and stop listening to Trump and his sycophants.”

Please remember a few things

On the anniversary of a horrendous day in America which occurred last year, we need to remember a few common sensical things. We can never let this happen again, especially when it appears a few lawmakers aided and abetted the efforts of the insurrectionists out of loyalty to a former president who has a well-documented history of being less than truthful.

  • when people who are in the know tell you not to look at the man behind the curtain, make darn sure you look behind the curtain.
  • when people who are decrying the investigative House committee is a sham, please remember two very important things – the same people voted down a proposed independent commission and nominated at least two people to be on the committee who are actually suspects in aiding and abetting the efforts, which at best is conflict of interest.
  • when people have gone out of their way to tell you what happened did not happen that way, in essence saying don’t believe your own eyes then you should be skeptical of those efforts.
  • when people who beat on their chest about law and order belittle the Capitol police force who testified under oath and at great consternation, what does that say?
  • when people seemingly ignore the former president’s inability to prove his false election claims after over 65 court cases (winning one small one in PA) and losing several recounts, reviews and audits in spite of all of his financial resources, you think these conspiracy minded people may begin to realize the REAL CONSPIRACY is being propagated on them by the former president of the United States.

As an old fart who once was a Republican and Democrat and is now an Independent voter, I am an American first. Our democracy is being further threatened because a seventy-year old person is pitching a hissy fit because his fragile ego cannot take losing. It truly is that simple. His niece Mary said her uncle “will burn it all down to avoid losing the election.” She said this just after the election and well before January 6, 2021.

We need a healthy dose of political courage in this country, especially in the Republican party. They must stop vilifying the truth tellers and start being critical of those who are not shooting straight with us. Republican Congresspersons Liz Cheney, Adam Kinzinger, Pete Meier, et al are getting death threats, yet are still speaking up. Why is that?

Most people I know do not like being lied to. Please ask more questions of sources and think about the statements above. What happened on January 6 started well before that date and we need to see that clearly to stop it from happening again.

GOP Congresswoman Liz Cheney notes Republicans are at a ‘turning point’

I do not agree with several of the positions of Republican Representative Liz Cheney. Cheney, but she remains a hero to me and should to Americans and her own party, even though they are trying to oust her from her caucus leadership post. Why is she a hero? She is a truth teller in her party, but is getting vilified for daring to call out the former president for his untruthfulness and danger to our democracy. This sad affair speaks volumes about what is important in the party.

Cheney wrote an op-ed in The Washington Post which is reported on by Ben Leonard in an article called “Cheney doubles down in op-ed, says Republicans are at a ‘turning point (see below for a link).

Here a few paragraphs that give you the gist of her points.

“‘The Republican Party is at a turning point, and Republicans must decide whether we are going to choose truth and fidelity to the Constitution,” the Wyoming Republican wrote in the op-ed. “History is watching. Our children are watching. We must be brave enough to defend the basic principles that underpin and protect our freedom and our democratic process’

In the op-ed, Cheney slammed Trump and said she would continue to do so ‘no matter what the short-term political consequences might be.

‘We must be brave enough to defend the basic principles that underpin and protect our freedom and our democratic process,’ Cheney wrote.

In the op-ed, she also called for Republicans to support the Justice Department’s investigations into the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol and renewed her calls for a bipartisan, 9/11-style fact-finding commission with subpoena power and no current members of Congress participating.

She also called on the party to move away from the ‘dangerous and anti-democratic Trump cult of personality.

It should be noted, the editorial board of the Wall Street Journal has defended Cheney and recommended she not be removed from her seat. Senator Joni Ernst of Iowa, a Trump supporter, also supported Cheney’s right to remain in her position. And, conservative pundit Michael Gerson even went further saying to be loyal to this kind of Republican party that would vilify truth tellers means leaders are either “suckers or liars.”

But, to me a question that I want answered by MAGA supporters and other Republicans who support Trump is the following. Liz Cheney and others have spoken out against the deceitful and seditious actions of the former president knowing they would be vilified and get death threats. Yet, they did it anyway and still are. Now, why would they do that? The answer is “political courage.”

Cheney doubles down in op-ed, says Republicans are at a ‘turning point’ (msn.com)

Seven heroes with political courage was not enough

The former president was not convicted of high crimes and misdemeanors by the Senate with the votes falling short of the needed two-thirds. But, please note that 57 Senators voted for conviction of the former president, with only 43 voting no. That means seven Republican Senators voted on the right side of history in this independent and former Republican voter’s view.

Those seven deserve high praise for their courage as they will get push back and even death threats for voting their conscience. And, they knew that beforehand.

These seven members of the Republican caucus are as follows:

Richard Burr of North Carolina

Bill Cassidy of Louisiana

Susan Collins of Maine

Lisa Murkowski of Alaska

Mitt Romney of Utah

Ben Sasse of Nebraska

Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania

Whether you agree with their policy decisions, please acknowledge their political courage. Representative Liz Cheney from Wyoming almost lost a key leadership role in the House Republican caucus because she was one of ten Republicans to vote to impeach the former president. And, as evidence of her grit, she told Chris Wallace on Fox this past Sunday, that the former president has been lying to Republicans.

I have sent thank you notes to these ten Republican representatives and now seven senators for their courage. I encourage you to do the same, as they will certainly hear from the vindictive former president and his sycophants.

It should be noted the former president’s legal troubles will continue as he is being investigated for trying to coerce an official in Georgia to alter the outcome of that election. Note, this is after two recounts proved he lost. And, he has some financial issues he is dealing with in courts in New York.

In the view of this former Republican and independent, just because the former president did not get convicted, does not mean he is innocent. What is sad, some of those who voted to acquit know this and told reporters off the record they are glad this footage is getting out.

Truthteller ridiculed more than conspiracy parrot

Truthtellers are not of great value to the Republican party. It seems an allegiance to parroting inane conspiracy theories has more currency. In support of this contention, Jason Lemon of Newsweek wrote the following piece “Chris Wallace Calls Out Republicans for ‘More Visible Outrage’ at Cheney Than at Greene” which incredulously frames how low the new Trump party had fallen. “Fox News Sunday anchor Chris Wallace called out Republican lawmakers for showing ‘more visible outrage’ at GOP Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming for voting to impeach former President Donald Trump than at Georgia’s freshman GOP Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene‘s promotion of bizarre conspiracy theories. Some pro-Trump Republicans in the House of Representatives have called for Cheney’s removal from her No. 3 leadership position as chair of the House Republican Conference following her January 13 impeachment vote. Meanwhile, few GOP lawmakers have expressed public outrage following multiple reports on Greene’s past promotion of unfounded conspiracy theories and support for violence against fellow lawmakers on social media.  ‘You’ve got a situation right now where there is more visible outrage inside the GOP over Liz Cheney, a member of [Republican] leadership voting to impeach the [former] president over—rather than some of these wild conspiracy theories being espoused by Marjorie Taylor Greene,’ Wallace pointed out during his show Sunday. He suggested that Republicans should take action against Greene and asked whether she should potentially be expelled from Congress or removed from committees.  ‘What are their options here?’ Wallace asked panelist Susan Page, the Washington bureau chief for USA Today. ‘I think it tells you a lot about where the Republican Party is right now,’ Page responded. GOP House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy plans to have a meeting with Greene regarding her incendiary social media posts and bizarre claims. ‘These comments are deeply disturbing and Leader McCarthy plans to have a conversation with the Congresswoman about them,’ Mark Bednar, a spokesperson for McCarthy, told Axios last week. Representative Adam Kinzinger, an Illinois Republican who joined the nine other House Republicans in voting to impeach Trump, said Sunday that he’d support removing Greene from committee assignments, but he pushed back against expelling her from Congress altogether.”  Note, Senator Mitch McConnell aired some comments this morning calling Greene a “cancer” on the Republican party. McConnell’s comments are welcome, but they are somewhat forced being this late with respect to Greene. And, he was too calculating in any criticism of the former president when Trump parroted inane conspiracy theories along with his usual lies. I read McConnell took the former president’s election fraud claims not seriously, as a vacuum was left by Republicans refusing to call out the former president. Quite simply, when you do not stand up to a bully or let lies stand without pushback, the bullying and lying will continue. Rep. Liz Cheney and others did, but they are being vilified by the mob. Guess what – the former president continues to do both. Chris Wallace Calls Out Republicans for ‘More Visible Outrage’ at Cheney Than at Greene (msn.com)

Note to a handful of Senators and other Trump Toadies

The following was sent to Republican Senator Josh Hawley on Thursday. I just read in The Hill today there are eleven more Republican Senators who have decided to be remembered poorly in the future, as they fight the outgoing president’s continuing fraud on the American people. Please feel free to use and adapt the following. The names are in the article below.

I wish you a safe and productive New Year. However, this independent and former Republican voter must share my concerns with you.

The question that must be asked, is it easier to believe there is a vast voter fraud conspiracy which would include many Republican (even Trump appointed) election officials, governors, secretaries of state, judges, the US Attorney General, head of election cybersecurity and election leaders OR is it easier to believe a person well documented as being untruthful, long before being president, is lying yet one more time, especially after staging for six months the fraud claims? While we are at it, why are Fox News and Newsmax backpedaling on their unsupported claims of Dominion Voting Systems – could it be the defamation lawsuits?

This independent and former Republican voter sees the outgoing president as threat to national security as he endangers our democracy and people, many of whom are hard working Republicans just trying to do their job. It is time for Mr. Trump to concede after failing to prove voter fraud while losing 59 out of 60 court cases. Plus, the recounts confirm the voter tallies and that he lost. It is time to move on for the sake of our country.

While what the outgoing president is doing was predicted and predictable, what frustrates me most is seeing legislators aid and abet the outgoing president’s deceitful action on the American people. The New York Post, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch, called the outgoing president’s efforts an “undemocratic coup.” My question to you is this how you wish to be remembered? Please rethink your course of action, for the sake of our country. If you helped the outgoing president remain in power, our democracy would effectively be over.

11 Senate Republicans say they will object to Electoral College results Wednesday (msn.com)

And, the beat goes on – more Republican defections

I have written several pieces about the groups of and individual Republicans who have come out against Donald Trump in support of Joe Biden. The Lincoln Project, Republicans for the Rule of Law, and Republican Voters against Trump are a key few.

Per a CNN report by Chris Cillizza called “There’s a historic insurrection against Donald Trump happening within the GOP,” the following few paragraphs reveal a few more Republican voices are speaking out. The full article can be linked to below.

“The latest sign came Sunday, when former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge penned an op-ed in the Philadelphia Inquirer making clear his intent to vote for former Vice President Joe Biden over President Donald Trump in November.

‘He lacks the empathy, integrity, intellect and maturity to lead,’ Ridge, who also served as the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security in the Bush administration, wrote of Trump.

Ridge joins fellow Bush Cabinet secretaries Christine Todd Whitman (EPA), Ann Veneman (Agriculture), Carlos Gutierrez (Commerce) and Colin Powell (State) as Biden endorsers. Ray LaHood, a former Republican congressman from Illinois, and Chuck Hagel, the former Nebraska Republican senator, both of whom served in the Obama Cabinet, have also backed Biden.

And that’s just Republicans who served in a presidential Cabinet! There are a slew of other prominent GOP elected officials — from former Ohio Gov. John Kasich to former California gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman to 2016 presidential candidate Carly Fiorina to former Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder — who are on record as either planning to vote for Biden or leaning in that direction.

Then there are the staffers. That group includes the former chiefs of staff at the Department of Education and Department of Homeland Security in the Trump administration! More than 70 national security officials from various Republican administrations are backing Biden. As are more than 150 alums of the George W. Bush White House.”

The incumbent and his supporters downplay these Republican voices. The president, of course, labels these critics as “losers” a favorite name calling rebuttal. I read a piece from a Trump supporting pundit who dismissed these folks as being played up by Democrats.

Yet, neither the president or pundit have addressed why these folks are risking backlash from a vindictive person. The same “why” question can be asked of the president’s firing or transferring of the inspectors general who were critical and folks who testified under oath over concerns about the president’s actions

Why indeed?

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/there-s-a-historic-insurrection-against-donald-trump-happening-within-the-gop/ar-BB19vw1b?ocid=msedgdhp