Tag Archives: Capitol Hill

Hey, GOP: Why change of heart over documents?

Congressional Republicans have a lot of explaining to do … imagine that!

They have declared that Donald Trump’s purposeful theft of classified documents weren’t worth their time to investigate. Nor is his refusal to cooperate with Justice Department subpoenas to turn the documents over to the National Archives, which he was required to do when he left the White House in 2021.

Now we have a Democrat, President Joe Biden, who’s been caught with far fewer classified documents stashed at a think tank and also at his home in Delaware. Biden has vowed to cooperate fully with DOJ officials. Yes, the White House has been sloppy in answering questions about how the documents drifted from the White House to these off-site locations.

But now the GOP members of Congress want to launch a full-blown probe into this kerfuffle, which bears virtually no resemblance to the mess that Trump has created with his own classified document pilfering.

What the hell?

Hypocrisy is alive … and all too well on Capitol Hill!


Two years on, it still hurts

This is no day to ” celebrate” with vacuous expressions of “happy anniversary.” It is, rather, a day to commemorate with observations about how dangerously close this event came to unraveling our cherished democratic system of government.

Two years ago today the mob of traitors stormed the Capitol Building intending to overturn the 2020 presidential election results. I won’t go into the details of who ignited it or assess blame for the chaos that ensued.

All I want to do in this moment is note that the traitors who committed the insurrection came too damn close to succeeding in their failed effort.

The House select committee assigned to study the event and recommend ways to prevent a recurrence has finished its job. It was thorough and meticulous in its effort. I commend that. It has recommended criminal referrals to the former president. I comment that, too.

Let’s just today take note of what could have happened that day. Let’s also cling tightly to the love we express about our liberties and the benefits of living in this great nation.


Election over … get busy

I find no need to look back on the 2022 midterm election, which came to a wonderful end with the re-election this week of Raphael Warnock to the U.S. Senate.

Warnock’s victory extends by just a tiny bit Democrats’ majority in the Senate, enabling that body now to proceed with some important business on our behalf. I have said all I intend to say about the (lack of) quality in Sen. Warnock’s Republican opponent … except to speculate whether Herschel Walker will return to his mansion in Texas and consider running for politics here. God forbid …

What’s ahead for the Senate? Lots of business that Democrats can do — hopefully with Republican help. But with a 51-49 majority, Democrats now can lose one of their members to the other side and still have Vice President Harris waiting in the wings to break a tie. The good news for Democrats? It’s no longer as urgent a fallback position.

The Senate now can proceed with filling federal judicial vacancies. President Biden has nominated judges for these vacancies, but the Senate had been hamstrung by GOP obstructionists. They need to be filled. It is with great pleasure I acknowledge that the House of Representatives, with its slim GOP majority, has no voice on that matter.

To be sure, the Senate cannot act on its own without some assistance from the House. There needs to be legislation to codify women’s reproductive rights that the Supreme Court stripped away when it trashed the Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion. Congress should seek legislation to make it even more difficult for lunatics to purchase firearms.

To be sure, the next Senate is going to have more election deniers among the ranks of senators. Two of them won election in Ohio and North Carolina. However, with Democrats’ position strengthened, the Big Lie believers can be silenced more readily.

The 2024 campaign for president is likely to commence soon. Joe Biden is sounding more like a candidate for re-election. Only heaven knows how many Republicans will step forward to seek their party’s nomination. That’s all well and good.

I am ready for a political breather.

Thus, I also am ready to watch the 118th Congress takes its oath and get to work.


Are they pro-cop or not?

Thomas Webster has just become the latest symbol of the hypocrisy we hear coming from the mouths of politicians and their supporters who purport to be “pro law enforcement.”

Webster has just received a 10-year prison sentence for his participation in the 1/6 assault on our government, on the attack on Capitol Hill.

Webster happens to be a former New York police officer who was convicted of assaulting a Capitol Police officer during that heinous attack. A judge sentenced the ex-cop to the longest sentence yet coming from the myriad trials emanating from the 1/6 assault.

But where are the statements of support for Webster’s sentence from those on the right, those who — until the Age of Trump — were known to be pro-law enforcement, pro-police, pro-lock ’em up and toss the key.

These days we hear them condemning the cops, the FBI, the intelligence community.

The world has been upside-down. It’s making me dizzy.


Changing tune on panel timetable

Once, not long ago, I was yammering about the length of time the House select committee was taking as it examined the 1/6 insurrection on Capitol Hill.

I am changing my tune. I no longer am as concerned about the time it is taking for the committee to do its job. It has more work to complete. The immediate past president of the U.S. is in trouble — it seems to me. The panel must finish its work completely, assemble its findings and then report to the nation what it has determined.

Meanwhile, Attorney General Merrick Garland keeps reminding us that “no one is above the law” and that he will follow the evidence wherever it leads before deciding on indictments. When someone says that “no one is above the law,” I am going to presume he means, well, “no one.” That includes the former POTUS. Do I have that right? I hope you think so, too.

The finished product of this exhaustive hearing must include remedies for preventing the 1/6 insurrection from recurring.

Now, having said that I am changing my tune about the select committee’s timetable, I am not going to say it should go on forever. Time isn’t exactly in the committee’s corner. The midterm election in November could produce a change of legislative control when the next Congress convenes. The House may shift from Democratic to Republican control. I say “may shift” because that might not be the slam-dunk the GOP had hoped would occur.

With that, it still would be good for the current committee, chaired by Democrat Bennie Thompson, to finish its work prior to the midterm election and certainly before the next Congress takes its oath.

But don’t rush it, ladies and gentlemen?


Rage mounts hourly

I have said all along that the 1/6 insurrection is difficult to watch and it gets more difficult as time marches on, reminding me a bit of the 9/11 attack’s effect on my emotions.

Still, the House select committee’s hearing that came to prime time this evening has been riveting, even as it fills me with rage over what happened that day during the siege on Capitol Hill.

There will be more to learn and more to discern from the hearings that will continue over the course of several weeks.

I am left to wonder how in the name of governmental integrity those who dismiss what occurred on 1/6 can continue to deny what the rest of us witnessed yet again tonight.

It was not a “routine Capitol tour.” It was not a part of “normal political discourse.” It was not a “peaceful demonstration.”

Good grief, man! It was an insurrection against our democratic process! We have been told in the clearest terms possible that Donald Trump orchestrated it. He did nothing to stop in real time. Trump sought to cling to power and do something that no previous president ever had attempted, which was to commit an act of sedition against the government he took an oath to protect.

I am even angrier than ever at the man who masqueraded as the nation’s chief executive. I thought I had maxed out by anger.

Silly me. I need to get ready to get even angrier.


Longing for old custom

There once was a time in Washington, D.C., when freshmen members of Congress — senators and House members — spent their first terms learning to locate the Capitol Hill restrooms, which they did without hardly ever uttering a word out loud.

Those days are gone. The media these days bestow instant celebrity status to congressional newbies. I wish we could silence some of them.

There were exceptions to the old way of senators and House members having to earn their way under the spotlight. I can think of Robert F. Kennedy, who took office as a senator from New York in 1965. He became an instant star, even though he never really liked serving in the Senate. The rest of ’em largely stayed quiet until they earned their spurs. Hillary Rodham Clinton took her Senate seat in 2001 as her husband was leaving the presidency. Indeed, Sen. Clinton was a household name — as was RFK — before she decided to seek elected public office.

These days? We get the likes of Republicans such as Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert. I’ll lump at least one Democratic lawmaker, Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, in that camp of instant celeb. The media seem to enjoy reporting on the things these people say, even when they make little sense.

Lately, too, we have heard from that GOP nut job Madison Cawthorn, who yapped about sex parties, bringing a dose of embarrassment to fellow Republicans in the House.

I fear this all is a consequence of social media. Everyone has a recording device on their “smart phones.” Whatever one can say is recorded instantly and shared with every human on Earth.

I guess I’ll just have to sigh out of frustration, knowing there ain’t a thing I can do to change the world in which we live. Maybe I’ll just have to learn to tune out the blatherings of these newcomers and listen more intently to those with actual governing experience.


Dole draws tributes from both sides

I am gratified to read the tributes that are pouring in from both sides of the great divide in Washington to honor the life and service of a genuine American hero.

Indeed, “hero” is a word we are hearing in the wake of Robert Dole’s death today at age 98.

Dole was a longtime Republican Senate stalwart, a man who knew how to work across the aisle. He built friendships that transcended whatever political differences he had with his colleagues.

To hear Democratic politicians praise Dole’s service to the country, starting with his combat service during World War II, gives me hope that we might be able someday to bridge the chasm that has turned mere political opponents into enemies.

Lawmakers remember Bob Dole: ‘Bona fide American hero’ | TheHill

Our current lawmakers can take a page from the example that former Sen. Bob Dole set during his long, productive and profoundly distinguished life.


Both sides need to talk … to each other

Fairness dictates that I make this complaint of Democratic politicians just as I did of Republican politicians during the previous presidential administration.

I want Democrats to talk to Republicans and I am terribly distressed that they aren’t reaching to the other side of the great divide.

Think back to the term of Donald J. Trump. The Republican president chose to speak only to fellow Rs on Capitol Hill. He allowed the GOP caucus to craft that tax cut bill that favored rich folks. Democrats wanted no part of the deal. The then-POTUS didn’t reach out to them. He stiffed ’em!

That guy is gone. The new president, Joe Biden, has resorted to talking mainly to Democrats on his Build Back Better agenda. Indeed, GOP Senate leader Mitch McConnell has made his point clear: Ain’t no way the Republicans are going to support anything that comes from a Democratic president. President Biden figures: What the hell is the point in talking to them?

Well, I believe he should. Just as I believe that his predecessor should have talked to Democrats in search of common ground.

I have spoken of late about “good government.” This is how government ought to work. Compromise is not a four-letter word.


GOP duplicity: simply stunning

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

The duplicity and hypocrisy being shown by congressional Republicans is an astonishing sight to those of us who believe in fairness and good government.

The GOP caucus in Congress is hell bent on supporting Republican-controlled state legislatures — such as in Texas — for their effort to curb “widespread voter fraud” that doesn’t exist. The GOP caucus is resisting efforts to approve the John Lewis Voting Rights Act named after the late civil rights icon. Why? They suggest that legislatures have the answer to how to ensure free and fair elections while preventing vote fraud that — I state again — does not exist.

Meanwhile, the same GOP caucus turns its back on the impact of the Jan. 6 insurrection incited by the former Seditionist in Chief. People were killed. They were injured. A mob comprising thousands of domestic terrorists stormed the Capitol Building that day to prevent the certification of the 2020 presidential election.

The GOP response? Nothing, man! They have been delivered tangible, visible, visceral proof of extreme malice among the rioters who wanted to “hang” Vice President Pence that day. Meanwhile, the former POTUS did nothing to stop the riot. He reportedly cheered them on from the safety of the White House.

And this doesn’t seem to bother most members of the GOP caucus in Congress? My goodness. I am ashamed of them all.