Mitch McConnell says it bluntly about the insurrection

In the wake of the House Select Committee referring four counts of criminal charges to the Department of Justice on the latest former president for his role in the January 6 insurrection and obstruction of justice thereafter, the brief words of Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell are compelling. In a piece called “McConnell on Jan. 6 criminal referral of Trump: ‘Entire nation knows who is responsible for that day’” by Alexander Bolton of The Hill, McConnell says the following.

“’The entire nation knows who is responsible for that day. Beyond that, I don’t have any immediate observations,’ McConnell said in a statement reacting to the House panel voting to refer four criminal charges against Trump to prosecutors in connection to his role in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.

I applaud the work of the House Select Committee and the vast testimony of many Republicans who told the truth under oath over the concerns and criticisms of the former president’s role. It should be noted the sycophants and allies of the former president, including the person himself, are condemning the actions of the Committee without being under oath. Steve Bannon went to jail for ignoring a subpoena and four Republican Congress members, including Kevin McCarthy and Jim Jordan, were including in referrals for Ethics violations for doing the same. If they were so adamant, why not testify?

I have long been a supporter that action like this is needed. I also believe the Department of Justice should follow the recommendations and bring charges against the former president. We cannot and should not allow him to not be held accountable for his role in sedition against the US government. He must answer for his actions. And, from what I have read, his obstruction of justice to coerce several of the Republicans who testified to change their story is also telling.

To this independent and former Republican and Democrat voter, this is a great day for our democracy as it shows that even presidents are not above the law. And, for those who claim that the Committee was hyperpolitical, please note that Kevin McCarthy had recommended two people for the Committee out of his five that were persons of interest in the insurrection. When they were turrned down by the Speaker, McCarthy made a huge error in judgement and pulled all five. To the Speaker’s credit, she asked to two truth seeking Republicans – Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger – to serve on the Committee.

The former president likes to claim all organized criticism of his illicit behavior is a “witch hunt.” Well, if it is, then he must be a witch, because he does a lot of bad things and usually gets away with it. We cannot let it happen this time. Quite simply, the insurrection of the Capitol does not happen if there is anyone else in the White House. Full stop.

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A few odds and ends this Friday before Thanksgiving

A few odds and ends on this Friday before Thanksgiving.

– I think Representative Liz Cheney should be a candidate for Time Magazine’s Person of the Year for her political courage to hold the former president accountable for his role in the insurrection on the Capitol Building on January 6, 2021. My guess is Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelenskyy will win the nod given his bravery and leadership in standing up to another autocratic individual, but I wanted to mention Cheney.

– I saw where the Republican Party will spend most of its time with its House majority doing endless hearings to discredit people, rather than performing actual governance. This is a waste of taxpayer money and does not serve the American people very well. Sadly, my former party has not voted on a platform, so what it stands for is a good question.

– Republicans like to point out the hearing on the former president as a “what-about-defense,” but that involves an insurrection against the Capitol building endangering incumbents of all stripes. Getting to the bottom of the former president’s culpability on that is a matter of national security and must be done. Republicans made a huge mistake by choosing not to be involved in this process, with the exceptions of Cheney and Adam Kinzinger.

– There is irony that the new Speaker will be Kevin McCarthy under this mission. He would have been Speaker instead of Paul Ryan after John Boehner retired a few years ago, but he blabbed in an interview the real purpose of the endless Benghazi hearings were to discredit Hillary Clinton not get at the truth. So, Republicans had to replace him with Ryan. It is not appropriate to use taxpayers’ dollars for political reasons and this was an obvious example.

-I saw where Nancy Pelosi will be stepping down from Democrat leadership in the House in January. To be frank, I have never been a huge fan of Pelosi’s as she tends to grandstand, but she is nonetheless a very effective Speaker of the House. She does have a knack for getting things done. So, she deserves respect for that.

-Finally, in one of the most bizarre campaign speeches, candidate Herschel Walker when off on a long tangent about werewolves and vampires. Not only did it not make much sense, but why on earth would you talk about that analogy in the middle of telling folks you have credibility? To be honest, it reminds me of a 2010 New Jersey senate candidate named Christine O’Donnell who felt the need to do a TV commercial saying “she was not a witch” as a past issue arose where she claimed such.

Since, Halloween is behind us, we can put away all the werewolf, vampire and witch costumes. And, now we can move on to Thanksgiving. Safe travels all.

Half a dozen plus heroes to think about today – an updated post of a few years ago

My wife and I watched the movie “Harriet” on Friday about the American hero Harriet Tubman. She helped over 300 slaves find their way to freedom. Her courage, tenacity, faith and smarts are highly commendable. The movie is excellent and quite moving.

It got me thiking about a few other heroes. Let me mention three more historical heroes who need more notoriety, before I close with two current ones who deserve the shout out.

I have written before about Alan Turing, the father of modern day computing. He led a team that cracked the Nazi Enigma code used in secret transmissions. Allied Commander General Dwight Eisenhower said Turing and his team helped shorten the war by two years and save 750,000 lives. Sadly, Turing had to hide the fact he was gay and was later imprisoned after his sexual preferences were discovered. What if they had discovered he was gay in 1940 rather than 1950? Would those 750,000 people have died?

Two men who should get more acclaim are Elliott Richardson and William Ruckelshaus. What did they do? In October, 1973, they refused in succession to fire Watergate special prosecutor Archibald Cox at the direction of President Richard Nixon and were themselves fired. This was the beginning of the end of the Nixon presidency. Nixon called the Watergate investigation a “witch hunt” and said repeatedly “I am not a crook.” He was wrong on both counts. It wasn’t and he was.

A current hero is only sixteen years old, Greta Thunberg, the climate change activist from Sweden. She has inspired tens of millions kids, teens and adults in urging the need for more climate change action. I find her candor and can-do attitude refreshing. She has gotten the attention of legislators, but they need to act. We are behind where we need to be.

The other current hero is former US ambassador to Ukraine, Maria Yovanovitch. She was the first to testify to the (first) House impeachment committee. Her political courage and respect for the US constitution is enviable. Her testimony led others to also brave testimony, especially in light of a vindictive president who they reiterated abused his powers. I cannot emphasize their courage enough, as more than a few Republican legislators feel the same but are not as courageous and fear the wrath of the president and his base.

Note, we would later learn that two Republicans, in particular, Representatives Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger, have shown what political courage looks like and have lost their jobs as a result. They have called the former president on the carpet for his involvement in the Big Lie and instigating an insurrection on the Capitol building. Like Yovanovitch, these two should be applauded for their heroism. They knew they would be vilified, but spoke out anyway. Why is that?

Going against the grain in the face of adversity should be valued. Tubman freed herself and traversed over one hundred miles alone. Then she went back at great personal risk and freed more people. I applaud her and these other five people. We all should.

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.

A few apt comments from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell

I had read the Republican National Committee was lamenting its decision to censure Representatives Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger for speaking the truth against the standard talking points of the RNC. Several Republican Senators pushed back on the decision, as well as the stance on the January 6 insurrection.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has added his pushback as reported by CNN. McConnell said:

“The issue is whether or not the RNC should be sort of singling out members of our party who may have different views from the majority. That’s not the job of the RNC.”

McConnell wasn’t done. As for the events of January 6, 2021, which the resolution condemning Cheney and Kinzinger had described as “legitimate political discourse,” the Kentucky Republican was similarly blunt.

“We all were here; we saw what happened,” said McConnell. “It was a violent insurrection for the purpose of trying to prevent the peaceful transfer of power after a legitimately certified election from one administration to the next. That’s what it was.”

McConnell’s comments are on the side of the angels, although he could have been a little less political with his first pushback. While I do not agree with much of what Reps. Cheney and Kinzinger say from a policy standpoint, I do applaud their political courage and willingness to speak the truth about what happened before, during and after January 6.

Being silent is not enough

The courageous few Republicans who are among the truth tellers in their party are strong in principle, but seem to be standing alone or in small groupings way too often. For their truth telling, they are knowingly vilified and some even receive death threats by fans of the former president. Yet, they do it anyway.

Most of the elected officials in the party are keenly aware that Congresswoman Liz Cheney’s question of is the Republican party going to be the party of truth or party of Trump a more than fair question. Yet, they have chosen to be silent. In essence, they are saying to themselves “Don’t poke the bear.” They want to avoid being highlighted by the former president and his bullying and untruthful bent, whose followers will join in the fray.

This spineless tactic is not new. Back in the heyday of the Communist witch hunts and Senator Joe McCarthy, the populist candidate had a huge following. The Republican even rivaled the popularity of President Dwight Eisenhower. From Jon Meacham’s book “The Soul of America,” the historian points out Eisenhower detested McCarthy for his baseless claims that he frequently made up on the spot. Yet, Ike would not publicly demean McCarthy for his claims, only to offer mild comments from time to time.

He and the other Republicans tolerated McCarthy. They remained silent. It was not until the most respected TV journalist Edward R. Murrow exposed McCarthy for what he was that his impact began to ebb. But, the impact of McCarthy’s baseless accusations lingered on for years. The famous question asked by a senior Army official of McCarthy, “Have you no sense of decency, sir?” could be asked of the most recent former president, another populist who tends to make baseless claims.

I encourage all of you who agree with the purpose of this post, to consistently let elected Republican and other officials know you appreciate their political courage for pushing back on the incessant and well-documented untruthful actions and words of the former president. And, let your Republican Senators, Congress person, and GOP leaders know you are concerned about this untruthful path the party has taken. The GOP has lost any veritas it had left. I even let them know how much I admire the courage of the truth tellers and it is a shame they are getting death threats.

The accusations of sedition toward the former president tend to focus more on what he failed to do last January 6. In my view as an Independent and former Republican voter, his consistent baseless claims of election fraud, which he has tried to prove and failed miserably in courts, audits and recounts, are what greased the skids for what happened on January 6.

As his niece said, “My uncle will burn it all down to avoid losing the election.” I knew he would act this way, but what makes me more frustrated are the sycophants who publicly cover for his Big Lie and the too silent many in party leadership who are letting him do it. And, what they fail to realize based on previous history and current actions, the former president will throw them under the bus in a New York minute, even placing them in physical danger with targets on their backs if they do not play ball with him.

Retired General urges folks to stop listening to baseless election fraud claims (and the MyPillow CEO) in CNN interview

While Congresswoman Liz Cheney got most of the press yesterday saying it is time for Republicans to choose between the truth and Donald Trump, another retired military person has shared his concerns about the baseless election fraud claims of the former president. Per a summary of a CNN interview, here are few excerpts.

Retired Brigadier General Steven M. Anderson urged Donald Trump supporters to stop listening to baseless claims about 2020 presidential election fraud and suggested measures to avoid a potential insurrection in 2024.

The former general spoke with CNN host Pamela Brown about solutions that would address the ‘extremism that has gone on within the military.’ He also warned against listening to conspiracists among many Republicans promoting baseless claims of election fraud, including MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell.

‘We need to do what we can do now to identify those people [within the military], get them out of our ranks, and train the rest of the force on civics one on one about how our country is supposed to work, how elections work, stop listening to the pillow guy [Lindell] and start learning about our country and how it’s actually supposed to run,’ Anderson said during his recent interview with CNN.

There is a threat within [the military]. We’ve got some people that just haven’t been educated. They haven’t been found out, and they’ve grown in power through perhaps inaction on the parts of some of our key leaders,’ he added.

What continues to bother me is the open attacks on the truth tellers in the Republican party who are calling out the overt lies of the former president, while those covering for the ex-president get elevated status in the party and media ranks. It should matter that these folks know they would be vilified,yet speak out anyway. Why is that? These lies led to an insurrection against a branch of government and people died and many were in danger.

We can never forget what happened leading up to that day a year ago and the fact the former president continues what his former attorney general William Barr told to his boss’ face – the election fraud claims are BS.

“This is not a difference on positions – it is a difference between truth and lies”

This morning I spoke with a aide for a Republican Congressman to share my concerns over what a shame it is Representative Liz Cheney is being ousted from her position in House leadership in the Republican Party citing my arguments. After he listened to me, he noted I had a right to share my difference on positions.

I said, this is not a difference on positions – it is a difference between truth and lies. I said I do not agree with many of the positions of Liz Cheney, but in this instance she is calling out the former president for his lying and sedition. There is no widespread election fraud and the president invited and incited an insurrection on members of Congress, endangering your boss. That is unforgiveable.

Then, I shared that this is not just my opinion, David Brooks, a conservative pundit said on PBS News Hour just this Friday that “to be a leader in the Republican party, you have to lie.” I did ask him, as an independent and former Republican, what am I supposed to think about all of this? He could not offer me his opinion, which I knew. beforehand, but I wanted to pose the question. It should be noted that Senator Mitt Romney noted that Republicans are not going to gain one vote from this and will lose many.

I closed with sharing we need a viable Republican Party, but right now the party is adrift. In fact, GOP Representative Adam Kinzinger equated the party with a slow-sinking Titanic. I told him I agree with that statement.

Purging Liz Cheney will purge some GOP voters along as well

It has long been observed by Thomas Wells, an attorney who worked with the former president before he was elected, if you are on Donald Trump’s good side, do not get used to it, as you won’t be there for long. You will not jump high enough or genuflect lowly enough to remain in favor. Republican Congresswoman Liz Cheney long sided with the former president in supporting his actions. Yet, she has the temerity to challenge his lies with respect to the election and call him out for inciting an insurrection against the Capitol.

Yet, the impetus to remove Cheney from her number three position in the Republican caucus, may cause the loss of Republican voters. These voters see Cheney as something the former president and his sycophants are not – a truth teller.

In a Newsweek opinion article called “If Republicans Purge Liz Cheney, They’re Purging Many of Us Voters Along With Her” by Jonathan Frank, he predicts the firing of Cheney will be harmful to the party. Here a re few paragraphs:

Republican House Minority leader Kevin McCarthy said “‘I’ve had it… I’ve lost confidence.’ …McCarthy saved these words for Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), a dutiful, third-term Congresswoman and mother of five who, as Chairwoman of the House Republican Conference, is the lone female in House Republican leadership.

Cheney is a stalwart conservative who voted with President Trump 93 percent of the time, earns an A+ rating from the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List, and is ranked by GovTrack as “most politically right” compared to other members of House Republican leadership. But McCarthy and a chorus of House Republican cannot be bothered with such facts.

Cheney committed the cardinal sin of holding President Trump accountable for the violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on January 6th, a position that McCarthy briefly held himself, before changing course in fearful obedience to the former President.

In January, Cheney joined nine other House Republicans in voting to impeach Trump for his role in the January 6th attack, a move she called a ‘vote of conscience.’ Lest voters think this move reveals Cheney as some sort of secret moderate, her record shows she has continued to vote with House Republicans 95 percent of the time this year.

Still, some House Republicans remain set on purging the lawmaker from her leadership post in the middle of the year, even as they rail against ‘the extreme left’s cancel culture’ and stress ‘party unity’ without the slightest hint of self-awareness. Punchbowl News rightly describes it as ‘unlike anything in modern House GOP internal politics.’

Their preferred pick to succeed Cheney: Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY), a Congresswoman whose recent unyielding devotion to Trump belies a spotty conservative record.

Stefanik earns a failing 43 percent lifetime rating from the American Conservative Union and a similarly lackluster 48 percent lifetime score from Heritage Action for America, compared to Cheney’s scores of 78 and 80 percent respectively. Stefanik also voted against the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, Trump’s signature legislative accomplishment, while Cheney helped secure its passage.

But Stefanik redeemed herself with Trump in late 2019 when she helped lead the former President’s defense in his first impeachment trial. Trump tweeted approvingly that ‘a new Republican star is born.’ With that, the Harvard grad and former George W. Bush administration aide’s transition from pragmatic Republican institutionalist to populist MAGA adherent was complete.

A Republican Party that does not have room for a principled conservative like Liz Cheney does not have room for many of us. In scheming to overthrow her, House Republicans are sending a clear message that support for the former President’s policies is not enough. Meeting the new and ever-changing definition of a true Republican requires one to accept and parrot Trump’s every claim, the truth and the rule of law notwithstanding.”

Or, as conservative pundit David Brooks said on PBS Newshour Friday night, “To be a Republican leader means you have to lie.”

If Republicans Purge Liz Cheney, They’re Purging Many of Us Voters Along With Her | Opinion (msn.com)

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)