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MAGA cult redefines RINO

Republicans In Name Only has become a sort of four-letter word among the MAGA cabal that comprises a good portion of the Republican Party.

Let’s examine the RINO phenomenon for a moment, OK?

Those who now comprise the so-called RINO wing of the party are the same as they always have been. They haven’t modified their positions — as near as I can tell — from when they were first elected to office. Granted, I cannot know the history of every Republican officeholder in the land, but some of the more prominent folks, well, they’re on my radar.

Sen. John Cornyn of Texas is now considered to be a RINO. Same with former President George W. Bush. Even Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell is forced to wear the RINO label. It’s been said that the late Ronald Reagan, the once-sainted former president, would now be thought of as RINO.

RINOs, whoever they are, remain as they generally have always been. They just refuse to swill the Kool-Aid offered by adherents to the 45th POTUS … who, to my way of thinking is the real RINO among us. He campaigned for the presidency in 2016 as some sort of populist, espousing “America first” notions on trade and our international alliances.

The ex-POTUS captured the fancy of the evangelical Christian movement, although the thrice-married serial philanderer doesn’t know the New Testament from a new pair of socks. Let’s remember, too, that this is the moron who once declared he’s never sought forgiveness for any of the sins he has committed. Hmm. Didn’t Jesus Christ instruct Christians to do that very thing?

He is the RINO. Not the many public officials who wear the Republican Party label with pride in where the party formerly stood.

The MAGA cult has changed the description of what it means to be a “true Republican.” Those who disbelieve the MAGA rants are cast as outliers. What a shameful turn of events.

Now … comes the 1/6 report

Americans with an interest in how the government came under attack on Jan. 6, 2021, and how we might prevent a recurrence of such a travesty have some riveting TV viewing ahead of them.

The House 1/6 select committee is going to meet one final time Monday in front of you and me. It will discuss what it has discovered after interviewing more than 1,000 witnesses and reviewed more than a million documents.

The committee then will take arguably the most monumental congressional votes in U.S. history. It will vote on whether to refer criminal charges against the former president of the United States who, in 1/6, incited the insurrection that tore through the Capitol Building with the aim of overturning a free and fair presidential election.

To be abundantly clear, Congress only can refer criminal charges to the Department of Justice. DOJ must decide whether to indict whoever the congressional committee refers in its report.

And … yes. Donald J. Trump’s name needs to be among those referred for criminal prosecution.

To suggest that the1/6 committee has been anything but meticulous, patient, diligent and courageous in its pursuit of the truth about 1/6 is to be guilty of the most partisan cynicism imaginable.

On the receiving end of those referrals, of course, is Attorney General Merrick Garland, who has insisted repeatedly that “no one is above the law.” By “no one,” he means precisely what we must infer, which is that Donald Trump is vulnerable to a criminal indictment … or two … or three.

Having watched many hours of previous testimony and commentary from committee members, I have no doubt — none, zero! — that Donald Trump committed multiple crimes before, during and after the assault on the Capitol Building.

What remains to be determined if whether the AG is going — after poring through the committee’s findings — to make history by doing something to previous attorney general has done. Will he indict Donald J. Trump?

I believe that moment is coming.

Meanwhile, I am going to listen with the most intense interest possible at committee members’ message as this drama draws to its long-awaited conclusion.

Panel subpoenas Trump … wow!

Well now, the House of Representatives select committee examining the 1/6 insurrection has presented a surprise for those of us wanting to know the whole truth behind what happened on that horrible day.

Except that the panel’s unanimous vote to subpoena Donald J. Trump isn’t likely to provide that long-sought truth. Still, it was a dramatic final act from this committee that now must work like mad to finish its task before the next Congress takes office in January.

What the panel is going to get either are an endless string of Fifth Amendment claims by the former POTUS or an equally endless string of lies.

You see, I happen to believe to the core of my being that Trump cannot tell the truth. The committee would make him take an oath; he would swear to God in heaven to “tell the truth and the whole truth” and then he is likely either to lie or hide behind the Fifth Amendment’s protection against self-incrimination.

I suspect we would watch the former commander in chief cower behind the Constitution … which is his right.

The testimony today included never-before heard audio of members of Congress pleading for help from the cops while Trump did nothing.

Meanwhile, the ex-POTUS has condemned what he calls the “un-select committee” work as a “witch hunt” driven only by partisan concerns. Hmm. Interesting. I guess I should point out that the committee’s vote to summon Trump included those of its two Republican members, Reps. Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger.

The drama is going to build to a remarkable crescendo. I look forward to the finale.

Biden goes for MAGA’s throat

If you are wondering at this moment whether President Biden is up for a fight with those who seek to undermine our democratic process, well, you weren’t paying a lick of attention to what the president said in a speech delivered in front of Independence Hall.

He went straight after who he called “MAGA Republicans” and their leader, Donald John Trump. He called the MAGA wing of the GOP opposed to democracy, he accused them of fomenting political violence, he said they want to establish an authoritarian regime.

Game on!

Meanwhile, we hear from Donald Trump, who told a right-wing radio station that if he is elected POTUS — God forbid! — he would likely grant full pardons for everyone who took part in the 1/6 attack on our government.

Is there possibly a greater reason to work like hell to keep that moron out of the White House … for the rest of his sorry life?

President Biden looks to me to be ready to wage political war against those who already have declared war against the government.

Well done, Mr. President.

Pro-life, pro-choice … or both?

Occasionally I have to grapple with my position on abortion. Am I pro-choice? Am I pro-life? Truly, this issue causes me some grief. To alleviate that grief, I have determined I am both.

I now shall explain myself.

If a woman were to ask me for advice on whether to abort a pregnancy, I could not counsel her to do so. Therefore, that resistance to pro-abortion counseling makes me — in my view — pro-life on the issue.

However, the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision that strips the court’s Roe v. Wade ruling of its power spurs another emotion within. You see, I also believe that government should not govern how women can manage their own reproductive process. That is not a governmental call. Such heart-wrenching decisions belong only to the woman, her partner, her physician, her spiritual leader and, yes, the god she worships.

I have thought about a gentleman with whom I attended church in Amarillo. His name is Doug and he once told a crowd of fellow churchgoers in a voice loud enough for many of us to hear that he was both a “creationist and one who believes in evolution.”

I learned then that Doug, a fellow who is quite a bit older than I am (which is really saying something), takes the same expansive view of Scripture that I do. We believe that the biblical version of “six days” worth of work creating the universe doesn’t mean the same six calendar days we use to measure that length of time.

So it can be with abortion. I see myself as both pro-life and pro-choice on an issue that when all is said about it really is none of my business.

As a 70-something-year-old man I never have had to make that choice for myself, nor will ever have to make it for as long as I walk this good Earth. Nor do I ever expect a woman to ask me whether she should make that choice for herself.

That suits me fine, too … because I never could say “yes” for any woman to commit such an agonizing act.

Ga. probe looms as major Trump threat

If I was a betting man — and I have to stipulate that I am nothing of the sort — I would wager that Donald J. Trump’s gravest threat to his future looms in the Fulton County, Ga., district attorney’s office.

The former president is under investigation in many venues: Congress, the Justice Department, Manhattan (N.Y.) and Fulton County.

It’s the Georgia matter that, to my way of thinking, presents Trump with his most serious threat. Why? Because the whole world has heard Trump’s own voice demand that Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensberger “find” enough votes to swing the state from Joe Biden’s column to Trump’s.

Where I come from, I believe that amounts to a clear-cut, no-questions-need-asking, tried-and-true case of election tampering.

Oh, and there’s more to that recorded conversation. You might recall that Trump actually threatened Raffensberger with criminal prosecution if he didn’t do what the president wanted him to do.

I have been wondering ever since I heard about this: If this doesn’t constitute a crime, then what in the world qualifies?

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis is pursuing this probe with all appropriate vigor. Indeed, I have thought all along that this case presented Trump with his most daunting set of allegations. What’s more — thanks to Raffensberger, who thought to record the phone conversation — we can hear the POTUS in his own voice pressuring the election official to, shall we say, “steal the 2020 presidential election.”

The House select committee that is pursuing the insurrection also is piling up a mountain of evidence that suggests criminality within the White House. The Manhattan probe, though, appears to be losing steam. The Justice Department probe? Well, Attorney General Merrick Garland has made it abundantly clear that “no one is above the law” and by “no one,” the AG means, well … no one.

If I were Donald Trump — and I am so glad that I ain’t — I would be sweatin’ bullets over what might be coming his way from Deep in the Heart of Dixie.

Anger: so unbecoming

I hate feeling angry. I also hate that the people who represent me in the government we elect are angry with each other and seemingly with the world.

Who’s to blame for this anger? As my dear Mom would say: I’ll give you three clues … and the first two don’t count.

I have to circle back to the guy who lost the most recent presidential election, but whose own anger at losing it fairly, squarely and legally has prevented him from saying so. Thus, the anger has festered.

I won’t spend a lot of time and emotional capital lamenting the cause of this anger. I’ve traipsed down that road often and with extreme prejudice already.

What is so concerning to me is the fear that the anger will persist long after Donald Trump is no longer on the scene. Now, by “on the scene,” I am referring to his relevance as a political player. However, he is 76 years of age and eventually he’ll be seriously “no longer on the scene” … if you get my drift and I’m sure you do.

Even after he departs the good Earth, I fear his legacy will fester amid the anger he sowed the moment he rode down the escalator at that glitzy hotel of his and declared his intention to run for the presidency. His first words were to blame Mexico for sending us drug dealers, rapists and killers and then he vowed to ban all Muslims from coming to the Land of Opportunity.

Anger … anyone?

The anger has continued to grow in Congress, and it has spilled onto the floors of state legislatures, into city halls and county courthouses, into school board meeting rooms. Qualified educators are quitting the teaching profession they formerly loved because parents have grown angry over mask mandates to fend off the infectious pandemic that has killed about 1 million Americans.

Members of Congress say they cannot serve with members of “the other party” because of physical threats. Have I mentioned that most of the complaints come from congressional Democrats who point the finger at hyper-angry Republicans? There. I just did.

I am by nature a happy fellow. I do not like being angry. It’s not part of my DNA. Indeed, I hope that when my time on Earth runs out that I’ll be remembered as a nice guy whose first instinct was to think well of people.

I do have a fear that the anger that permeates so much of our life these days is becoming like an indelible stain that I cannot wash away.

Therein just might lie Donald Trump’s enduring legacy. He has built an angry society. It is so very unbecoming.

FBI zeroes in on Trump

What in the name of juris prudence are we to make of the news that exploded this evening?

The FBI has walked into the home of the immediate past U.S. president to search for who knows what. The announcement comes on the eve of the 48th anniversary of the date Richard Nixon resigned the presidency as the Watergate scandal unraveled everything in sight.

Let’s understand what the so-called “raid” at Mar-a-Lago entails.

A federal judge had to sign off on a Justice Department request to allow the agents to look for evidence of specific allegations of criminal wrongdoing.

Thus, this is not just some rogue agency running amok. It is the result of a federal judge determining that the FBI had enough to justify a thorough search of a former president’s home.

There appears to be building evidence that Donald Trump broke more than one federal law when he squirreled federal documents away as he was preparing to vacate the White House after the 2020 election.

We don’t know what the FBI was seeking. It will become known in due course.

However, from my perch, it looks for all the world that the feds have the goods on the individual who gave the finger to the oath he took to protect the government.

Bannon bellows utter bullsh**

Steven Bannon strode before some microphones outside the courthouse where today he was convicted of two counts of contempt of Congress and then bellowed one of the more ridiculous pronouncements I ever have heard.

“I stand with Donald Trump,” Bannon yelled, “and with the Constitution.”

Roll that one around, OK?

Has there been a president of the U.S.A. who understands less of the Constitution than Donald J. Trump?

The testimony we have heard from the 1/6 House select committee tells me that Donald Trump shattered the oath he took to be loyal to the Constitution and to democracy.

Well, suffice to say only that Donald Trump and Steven Bannon deserve each other.

Pulling for Democrats

I cannot hide my partisan leanings, so I won’t even try to pretend I am so politically neutral that I don’t care which political party wins control of policy making in my state.

Truth is, I do care. I am tired of Republican Party vise-grip control of policy in Texas. I might not mind so much about whether the GOP maintains control of state government, except that today’s Republican Party bears practically no resemblance to the party of the late former Gov. Bill Clements and the late U.S. Sen. John Tower.

Clements and Tower personified what has been called “establishment Republicanism.” These days, establishment GOP pols have become targets of epithets hurled at them by the MAGA crowd of cultists who adhere to the phony populism of Donald J. Trump. MAGA fanatics call these real Republicans, RINOs … Republicans in Name Only.

Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Attorney General Ken Paxton are three amigos in pushing forward the MAGA agenda that seeks ostensibly to “make America great again.’

Earth to MAGA cultists: The MAGA mantra means nothing to me. America is great. It has been a great nation for far longer than I arrived on this good Earth.

The race for Texas governor is drawing a good bit of national attention. Democrat Beto O’Rourke is making his second run for statewide office in the past four years. He came close to defeating Ted Cruz in the 2018 race for U.S. Senate. Then he ran for president in 2020 and flamed out. Now he’s up once more … it might be his final run for statewide office.

I want Beto O’Rourke to defeat Gov. Abbott, who has been a terrible disappointment to me as the state’s chief executive.

Furthermore, I want to declare that my weariness of Republican Party dominance of public policy is no invitation for Democrats to veer too far off the mainstream middle ground that demands that many Texans are demanding to have their concerns heard, too.

It’s clear to me that Republicans aren’t listening to the vast middle ground. I consider myself to be a good-government progressive, which I believe requires plenty of compromise to find common ground.

Thus, we have an election coming up that could swing the state significantly away from the nastiness we see too often from Republican political leaders. May it come true.