A new ‘John Dean’ emerges

Cassidy Hutchinson has emerged as the “John Dean” of the 1/6 insurrection scandal, given what she told the House select committee today in televised testimony.

Let me start by declaring that young Hutchinson — to put it bluntly — blew the doors off the building where she offered testimony in a surprise hearing called at the last minute by Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss.

Hutchinson served on White House chief of staff Mark Meadows staff. She was, to borrow a phrase, “in the room” when all hell was breaking loose on 1/6.

She told the committee that Meadows asked for a presidential pardon; so did Trump’s lawyer Rudolph Giuliani. Don Trump Jr. begged his father to call off the treasonous attackers on 1/6, along with Ivanka Trump. Hutchinson said the POTUS heard all those concerns and worries … and didn’t do anything to end the violence. Hutchinson told the panel that Vice President Mike Pence knew of the “Hang Mike Pence!” chants, as did Trump; still, the president didn’t halt the assault.

She told committee members that Trump wanted to go to the Capitol to incite the attackers even more, but when the Secret Service told him “no!” he became so enraged that he attacked an agent assigned to his security detail.

Those of us who are old enough to remember Watergate today received a first-hand account from a ringside seat inside the West Wing of the pre-meditated chaos that erupted after Trump incited the insurrection.

John Dean gave us a similar look during the Watergate scandal when he came forward to tell the Senate Watergate Committee about the “cancer” that was growing in the presidency of Richard Nixon.

Mick Mulvaney, who served as chief of staff in the White House prior to Mark Meadows, said via Twitter after Hutchinson’s testimony that “I know Cassidy … and I don’t believe she is lying.”

I believe her, too.


Putin: international terrorist

Vladimir Putin’s evil intent has been placed on full display for the entire world to make a simple determination, which is that he is a state sponsor of international terror.

The Russian goon today launched a missile into a crowded Ukrainian shopping mall. I haven’t yet heard the casualty count, although I understand that several civilians lost their lives in the terrorist attack.

Yes, that is what it was: a terrorist attack. Putin now intends to terrorize Ukrainian civilians. He is no better than Osama bin Laden, Pol Pot, Adolf Hitler, Saddam Hussein.

Putin’s conduct of the Ukraine War tells me that he needs to stand trial for his crimes against humanity.

Did the Russians blast the shopping mall to smithereens by mistake? Were they actually aiming the missile at a military target? Did the Russian intelligence network mistake a shopping mall for a weapons depot?

Oh, no. Putin intends to terrorize Ukrainians into pressuring their heroic president to sue for peace at any cost.

That he would kill civilians on purpose tells me he is as untrustworthy as any human being on Earth.

This individual must pay for the crimes he is committing against humanity.


Handcuffs in Trump’s future?

I have known this gentleman for 22 years. We met in Greece in 2000 at a conference of journalists from around the world. He lives in Australia. I haven’t seen him since we parted company all those years ago, but we have stayed in touch during that time.

He has told me many times over the past, oh, five years or so that Donald J. Trump would be hauled off in handcuffs and leg irons when the feds arrest him for the myriad crimes he has committed.

I kind of laughed off my friend’s belief. I am not laughing now.

It is impossible to predict what Attorney General Merrick Garland is going to do when the House select committee finishes its examination into the 1/6 insurrection. I have my hope for what I believe should happen, which is that Garland is going to obtain a grand jury indictment against Trump for knowingly inciting the assault on our Capitol that day.

Do I believe that will happen? I am thinking each day that the likelihood is increasing that Garland will do what he must to keep his pledge to us to hold “anyone and everyone accountable” for crimes he has committed against the nation.

The evidence is piling up against Trump. The televised hearings have produced some stunning revelations to the public. I understand that there are those who will read this blog post and will respond with something like “no one’s watching these hearings; they don’t register with voters.” They shouldn’t waste their time and energy. The folks who should be watching them — namely the legal eagles at Justice — will be watching.

I also am acutely aware of the enormous political consequence if a criminal indictment doesn’t produce a conviction. The AG is even more aware of that than anyone else on Earth. Will I accept a decision from Garland that tells us he will forgo a criminal prosecution? Sure. I won’t like it, but I trust him implicitly to do the right thing.

I just am feeling at this moment that the “right thing” is going to make history.


Why omit this one, Mr. Justice?

It wasn’t lost on many folks that U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas omitted a legal precedent when he signaled which others might become vulnerable in future SCOTUS rulings.

The court knocked Roe v. Wade — the landmark ruling that legalized abortion — down and out. Thomas then noted that in the future, the court could take on same-sex marriage and contraception, two other provisions protected by constitutional “rights of privacy” provisions.

But … wait! What about interracial marriage?

Oh, yeah. Thomas, one of two blacks to serve on the court, is married to a white woman … and a controversial white woman at that! Ginni Thomas has been rabble-rousing like the dickens over Joe Biden’s 2020 election as president.

The court’s famous Loving ruling in 1967 legalized interracial marriage. It’s difficult for many of us to understand why it was ever illegal for people of different races to marry one another, but it was.

Is that going to be part of the court’s future?



Texas GOP: certifiably loony!

Here is a statement from the Texas Republican Party, the dominant political organization in a state that comprises 29 million residents and drives a world-class economic engine.

“We reject the certified results of the 2020 presidential election, and we hold that acting President Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. was not legitimately elected by the people of the United States.”

OK! I’ve already declared that the Texas GOP has gone bonkers. Its leadership is certifiably crazy.

I just want to reiterate that The Big Lie as regurgitated by the Texas Republican Party is a poisonous dose of rhetoric that does absolutely nothing but harm our cherished democratic process.

For the Texas Republican Party to swallow that snake oil — to my mind — is too damn close to sedition for comfort.


Uvalde’s loved ones need answers

Uvalde’s community of teachers, students and their loved ones and friends are demanding answers from the police who so far are acting as if they have many things to hide.

This is a travesty that needs instant repair.

The gunman who walked into Robb Elementary School and killed 21 children and teachers did so with apparent ease. Why in the name of truth and justice aren’t the cops telling us the whole truth about what wend down a month ago in that tightly knit South Texas community?

The Uvalde school district chief of police Pete Arredondo is on administrative leave. From where I sit, he needs to be fired. Department of Public Safety director Stephen McCraw is only a little more forthcoming, but he, too, is holding back. The Uvalde Police Department also has a dog in this fight, but where are UPD’s statements of clarification?

This outrage has gone on long enough!

The community is grieving. So is the rest of the state and the nation. We are getting some legislative help in the form of congressional action aimed at stemming the violence. It’s not enough, but it’s a start.

I want to offer a snippet from the Dallas Morning News editorial that states: The families of the victims and every Texan deserve better from law enforcement agencies and politicians whose prime responsibility is to serve the public interest, not their own. The common public interest must be to determine how and why so many died when faster action in line with nationally accepted active shooter protocols would have saved lives.

Uvalde was an ‘abject failure,’ but there’s more to the story (dallasnews.com)

The cops sign on to “protect and serve.” They offered little protection for those 19 children and the two teachers who died in that massacre. They are derelict in their service to the state that is demanding answers to what created what has been called “an abject failure.”


Abortion: always toxic

A long time ago, a young Texas congressman served the Houston area. He was famously friendly to organizations that favored women’s reproductive rights.

George H.W. Bush served in Congress for two terms, from 1967 to 1969. He voted routinely in favor of spending bills to pay for those programs now demonized by the right wing of his Republican Party.

Rep. Bush developed — as I understand it — a nickname in the House. His colleagues referred to him as “Rubbers.”

He left Congress and served as CIA director, head of the Republican National Committee, special envoy to China and as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

Then along came Ronald Reagan in 1980. “Rubbers” Bush ran against Reagan for the GOP presidential party. Reagan won the nomination and looked for a VP running mate.

He chose George Bush … who then underwent a remarkable political transformation. The instant he accepted Reagan’s invitation to join him on the GOP ticket, “Rubbers” became a fervently pro-life candidate.

The Reagan-Bush ticket won that year. The rest is history.  I hasten to add that as a presidential candidate in 1988, Bush did not wave the pro-life banner with undue vigor; nor did he do so when he ran for re-election in 1992.

I point all this out to remind us all that abortion and women’s reproductive rights long has been among the most toxic issues imaginable. The Supreme Court ruling that strikes down a woman’s right to obtain a legal abortion only fans those embers into a full-blown fire.


Dead Man Walking comes back to life … for now

T.C. Broadnax seemed to be a sort of Dead Man Walking at Dallas City Hall.

The mayor wanted the city manager ousted. Eric Johnson made no secret of his unhappiness with the job the city manager has been doing as the city’s chief administrator.

There was supposed to be a City Council meeting in which Broadnax would get booted out. The meeting didn’t happen. Then suddenly, without warning, Broadnax and Johnson kinda made peace.

At least for now.

Dallas mayor and manager truce isn’t the progress city needed (dallasnews.com)

I live just up the highway from Big D. I worked briefly for the Dallas Morning News at the end of 2021, so I developed a bit of understanding — but only a bit — of what was transpiring at City Hall. It looked pretty ugly from my standpoint.

Mayor Johnson seemed to make a hash out of the situation. The way I saw it play out, Broadnax had every reason to be embarrassed over the way he was treated.

Yeah, I know that running a major American city such as Dallas puts every senior administrator under the hottest of lights. The city has been through a lot of turmoil just in the three years we have lived in the city’s significant shadow.

The police chief resigned amid a violent crime wave. Crime continues to plague the city. Dallas reportedly has a permit problem that Broadnax cannot seem to repair, which also irked Johnson.

I don’t know how this is going to play out.

If I were T.C. Broadnax, I believe I would polish up my resume and get it ready to present to other potential employers. He ought to do it secretly. Why? Because Mayor Johnson seems to be unable or unwilling to avoid making a show out of sensitive personnel matters.


Eternal optimism gets test

Yes, it is time to acknowledge the obvious about today’s political climate: These times test even the most optimistic among us … and you count me as one of those folks.

My eternal optimism over the strength of democracy is suffering from serious stress.

The U.S. Supreme Court has punched the hot buttons that create my anxiety. The ruling on concealed carry permits for handguns in New York got me started. Then came the decision that tossed aside Roe v. Wade, the landmark ruling that legalized abortion.

Political figures are being hectored, harangued and harassed because they insist on following the rule of law. They and their families are being threatened with bodily injury … and worse!

A president who lost re-election in Novembe 2020 threatens to overturn the results of that election in an unprecedented attack on our governmental process. His cult followers insist he is right, and the rest of the country is wrong.

I am not alone in wanting our U.S. Constitution to hold together. I believe it will. I also believe it will hold the nation together.

My family and friends are likely to tell you — if you ask them directly — that I tend to see the good in people. The recent former POTUS, though, makes me think only the worst in him. Thus, my eternal optimism is being put to a test I did not foresee occurring … even when the former POTUS was elected to the presidency in 2016.

It’s a struggle. The news I watch for much of most days depresses me, pushing my emotions to a level with which I am mostly unfamiliar. Look, I dislike feeling this way. It’s against my nature. I am not an ebullient fellow normally, but I long have maintained an innate faith that our system of government — cobbled together by our nation’s founders — is built to absorb punishment.

My inherent faith in our system of government — as imperfect and occasionally rickety as it is — will keep me going even as I fight off the depression that threatens to put me asunder.


SCOTUS has changed, not Roe

Leave it to a lame-duck U.S. Supreme Court justice to put a monumental ruling in fascinating perspective.

Stephen Breyer is about to retire from the nation’s top court. He cast a dissenting vote in the decision to toss aside 50 years of “settled law” by overturning Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 decision that made abortion legal.

Previous Supreme Court decisions had upheld Roe v. Wade in earlier challenges. The court would rule that the law was established and that, by golly, the Constitution did guarantee a woman’s right to terminate a pregnancy.

Not this court. Not this time.

It was Justice Breyer who noted in his dissent that Roe had withstood challenges because it remained the same. The only thing that changed, he wrote, “is this court.”

So it is that Supreme Court, with his conservative supermajority, has decided to enact an activist agenda by ruling that a half-century of “settled law” had been decided wrongly.



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