Category Archives: National Politics

Unfriending the Hatred Over John McCain

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I unfriended someone today on Facebook because of this meme. To tell you the truth, I’m not even sure who he was. I’m usually very careful about those added to my Facebook list so somewhere along the way maybe we worked a campaign together or something but I cannot remember. All I know if he was despicable in his hatred toward John McCain.

Conservatives used to talk about how hateful and vitriolic Democrats were toward Republicans. This meme proves that some on the Republican side have become just as hateful and vitriolic proving the hypocrisy that now permeates the GOP.

In trying to figure out who this Facebook “friend” was, I read his “about” section where he had written, “Canadian Immigrant, moved to the Commonwealth of Virginia in 2000 for the opportunity of living the American Dream – FREEDOM.”

This meme is beyond the pale and further demonstrates the divide between 80 percent of the Republican party and the other 20 percent. Ronald Reagan would not be welcomed in the party under Trump.

John McCain: Vietnam POW for 5.5 years, public servant who represented Arizona for 35 years, twice a GOP presidential candidate.

GOP: Drowning in hypocrisy.

John McCain 8 USA Today

 

Charles Krauthammer Pens His Goodbye: ‘My Fight Is Over’

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“I have been uncharacteristically silent these past ten months. I had thought that silence would soon be coming to an end, but I’m afraid I must tell you now that fate has decided on a different course for me.” –Charles Krauthammer

Sad news on Friday….

After the heartbreaking news from his doctors that he has only weeks to live, psychiatrist/author/news commentator/panelist Dr. Charles Krauthammer began his open letter of goodbye by explaining his absence in recent months, how he thought he was on the road to recovery, and the bitter news that he was losing his battle with cancer.

“I leave this life with no regrets,” he wrote. Read it all here.

Dr. Krauthammer’s story is not in his death, but rather in his life, a life where he took lemons and turned them into lemonade.

Now 68, he was paralyzed during his first year at Harvard Medical School in a diving board accident. After 14 months in the hospital, he returned to med school and earned his degree as a psychiatrist, graduating with his class. He once joked that he was a medical doctor, a psychiatrist in remission, and hadn’t had a relapse in 25 years.

On his road to Harvard he learned to dislike political extremism on the right and left, noting, “I became very acutely aware of the dangers, the hypocrisies, and sort of the extremism of the political extremes. And it cleansed me very early in my political evolution of any romanticism. … I detested the extreme Left and extreme Right, and found myself somewhere in the middle.”

He practiced that in life, leading psychiatric research during the Jimmy Carter administration and became a speech writer for Vice President Walter Mondale. At the time he became ill last summer, he had spent years as a panelist on Fox News with Bret Baier, and 23 years as a panelist for PBS’ Inside Washington.

In his letter, Dr. Krauthammer wrote, “I believe that the pursuit of truth and right ideas through honest debate and rigorous argument is a noble undertaking. I am grateful to have played a small role in the conversations that have helped guide this extraordinary nation’s destiny.”

He wrote extensively, both in the medical field and then increasingly, in politics, publishing in Time, The New Republic, the Washington Post (where he won a Pulitzer Prize), Financial Times, The Weekly Standard, and many others. He won extensive awards and recognition for his work in all venues.

Krauthammer’s independent streak came out in his criticism of Donald Trump. He believes there is evidence the Trump presidential campaign colluded with the Russian government.

He was married and had a son. Friends talk about how he loved the Washington Nationals and was often at their games.

His life was remarkable. When tragedy struck, he seemed to dig down deep and excel at a time when many would give up. His voice, his intellect, his reasoning were calming amidst turbulent political times. That civility will be sorely missed.

“I leave this life with no regrets. It was a wonderful life — full and complete with the great loves and great endeavors that make it worth living. I am sad to leave, but I leave with the knowledge that I lived the life that I intended.” –Dr. Charles Krauthammer, June 8, 2018

President Bush #41 in Intensive Care – Updated

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This photo (photographer Paul Morse through the George H.W. Bush office) went viral when it captured a moment in time with “former U.S. presidents and first ladies posing with former President George H.W. Bush at the funeral of his wife, former First Lady Barbara Bush, in Houston on April 21, 2018.” Taken just before the funeral service: Laura Bush, former President George W. Bush, former President Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, former President Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, and current First Lady Melania Trump.

 

Twenty-one years ago this month my Aunt Ruth passed away in a hospital in Richmond after a brief battle with cancer. A little over two months later her husband, our Uncle Claude, followed after suffering a heart attack.

We weren’t surprised.

Married in the 1940s, they never had children and were dedicated to each other. In the absence of kids of their own, she had taken care of him through a heart attack in his 30s and diabetes later in life, administering his meds and monitoring his diet. After she was gone, I suspect he felt a bit lost after so many years together.

On Sunday former President George H.W. Bush was hospitalized, one day after burying his wife of 73 years who had passed away four days earlier. A statement from his office shared the news:

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The nation is praying for the 93-year-old Bush patriarch as he battles this latest health setback in the immediate aftermath of his loss. Theirs is a love story that will continue long after they are gone.

Updated May 5: The former President was released from the hospital.

Former Presidents George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter Honor Zell Miller at Funeral

Zell Miller, former Marine, Democratic Georgia Governor and U.S. Senator, and the first person in American history to be the keynote speaker at both parties’ presidential conventions, was honored Tuesday when three former U.S. Presidents — one Republican and two Democrats — honored him at his funeral: George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Jimmy Carter.

Republican, Democrat, and Democrat … a bipartisan respect.

In 2004 U.S. Senator Miller endorsed Republican President George W. Bush for reelection after the devastation of the 9/11/2001 terrorist attacks. Miller did not endorse his party’s nominee John Kerry because, as he said, Kerry voted against bills for defense and weapon systems that Zell felt weakened our military as they battled terrorism at home and around the world.

“The Spitball Speech,” as we called it at GOP headquarters in Staunton that fall of 2004, was vintage Zell Miller who didn’t give a dang if you were Republican or Democrat when it came to the defense of America. (See transcript of his remarks here.)

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2004: Democrat Zell Miller Endorsed Republican George W. Bush at RNC Convention

“… nothing makes this Marine madder than someone calling American troops occupiers rather than liberators.” — Sen. Zell Miller, 1 Sept 2004, Republican National Convention, NYC

With the passing of Georgia U.S. Senator Zell Miller (see Former Presidents George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter Honor Zell Miller at Funeral), it’s good to remember his keynote speech at the Republican National Convention held in late Augusta-early September in 2004 when Miller endorsed President George W. Bush who was running for reelection.

America had been attacked on September 11, 2001, by terrorists who piloted hijacked airplanes into New York City’s Twin Towers, the Pentagon outside D.C., and a field in Pennsylvania where Flight 93 crashed into a rural field due to passengers who overtook the terrorists to prevent the plane from crashing into the White House or U.S. Capitol building.

As some Democrats turned against the war, others crossed the aisle. Both Republicans and Democrats, grateful for the wartime president’s leadership after the deaths of 3,000 people on American soil, crushed our local GOP headquarters in Staunton to support the reelection of President Bush.

We opened early that year, in August instead of mid-September, to be available for those who wanted materials, signs, voter registration, or to just vent. We had held Support the Troops rallies since early in 2002; we had sent care packages to military service members deployed in Iraq. And that fall we were the busiest we had ever been for any election in the eight years that I ran the local headquarters.

At headquarters we called it “The Spitball Speech” because of Zell Miller’s line, “This is the man who wants to be the Commander in Chief of our U.S. Armed Forces? U.S. forces armed with what — spitballs?”

It was inspirational, and it energized the Republican grassroots. I wrote about the speech and am reposting it here in honor of a man who selflessly served his country. He was a Marine veteran who was furious that the Democratic Party was not supporting our troops. Emphasis added:

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Trump Was Told Not to Congratulate Putin. He Did It Anyway

“An American president does not lead the Free World by congratulating dictators on winning sham elections. And by doing so with Vladimir Putin, President Trump insulted every Russian citizen who was denied the right to vote in a free and fair election to determine their country’s future, including the countless Russian patriots who have risked so much to protest and resist Putin’s regime.” –U.S. Senator John McCain, Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee

Americans learned of a phone call Tuesday between Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump who congratulated him on his “winning” campaign. However, they learned of it only after it was announced by the Russians and word made its way back to the U.S. Reporters at a White House press conference questioned the president about congratulating Putin,  and Trump confirmed that, indeed, he had called Putin.

Trump had been warned by national security advisers with an all-caps precaution about Putin: “DO NOT CONGRATULATE.”

Trump also ignored additional advice, as noted by the Washington Post:

Trump also chose not to heed talking points from aides instructing him to condemn Putin about the recent poisoning of a former Russian spy in the United Kingdom with a powerful nerve agent, a case that both the British and U.S. governments have blamed on Moscow.

Trump told reporters, “We’ll probably be meeting in the not-too-distant future.”

POTUS better be careful about getting too close to Putin lest he be on the receiving end of the Russian-owned poisoning agent used on a former KGB spy and his daughter in Britain.

Fox Contributor, Ashamed, Quits the Network

On Tuesday a Fox News contributor quit the “fair and balanced” network that has become controversial in the age of Trump:

A retired United States Army lieutenant colonel and Fox News contributor quit Tuesday and denounced the network and President Donald Trump in an email to colleagues.

“Fox has degenerated from providing a legitimate and much-needed outlet for conservative voices to a mere propaganda machine for a destructive and ethically ruinous administration,” wrote Ralph Peters, a Fox News “strategic analyst.”

His words echo the thoughts of many conservatives who have turned from Fox News in the age of Trump. There was a time when many, including myself, turned to Fox for news that could not be found in other news outlets, and they were, indeed, fair and balanced by presenting supporters on both sides of an issue.

Thankfully, there are still rational voices at Fox including Shepherd Smith who have come under fire from lock-step listeners who object to hearing any version that is not the one they believe.

Peters sent an email to his Fox News colleagues to alert them to his leaving the network, and in it he wrote:

“Over my decade with Fox, I long was proud of the association. Now I am ashamed,” he wrote.

I feel compelled to explain why I have to leave. Four decades ago, I took an oath as a newly commissioned officer. I swore to “support and defend the Constitution,” and that oath did not expire when I took off my uniform. Today, I feel that Fox News is assaulting our constitutional order and the rule of law, while fostering corrosive and unjustified paranoia among viewers. Over my decade with Fox, I long was proud of the association. Now I am ashamed.

In my view, Fox has degenerated from providing a legitimate and much-needed outlet for conservative voices to a mere propaganda machine for a destructive and ethically ruinous administration. When prime-time hosts–who have never served our country in any capacity–dismiss facts and empirical reality to launch profoundly dishonest assaults on the FBI, the Justice Department, the courts, the intelligence community (in which I served) and, not least, a model public servant and genuine war hero such as Robert Mueller–all the while scaremongering with lurid warnings of “deep-state” machinations– I cannot be part of the same organization, even at a remove. To me, Fox News is now wittingly harming our system of government for profit.

As a Russia analyst for many years, it also has appalled me that hosts who made their reputations as super-patriots and who, justifiably, savaged President Obama for his duplicitous folly with Putin, now advance Putin’s agenda by making light of Russian penetration of our elections and the Trump campaign. Despite increasingly pathetic denials, it turns out that the “nothing-burger” has been covered with Russian dressing all along. And by the way: As an intelligence professional, I can tell you that the Steele dossier rings true–that’s how the Russians do things. The result is that we have an American president who is terrified of his counterpart in Moscow.

I do not apply the above criticisms in full to Fox Business, where numerous hosts retain a respect for facts and maintain a measure of integrity (nor is every host at Fox News a propaganda mouthpiece–some have shown courage). I have enjoyed and valued my relationship with Fox Business, and I will miss a number of hosts and staff members. You’re the grown-ups.

Also, I deeply respect the hard-news reporters at Fox, who continue to do their best as talented professionals in a poisoned environment. These are some of the best men and women in the business.

As long as Fox shrills like Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, Tucker Carlson, and others continue to mislead watchers with conspiracy theories while making 180-degree turns from their previous stands during the administration of Barack Obama, the Republican Party will continue to drown in hypocrisy.

Conspiracy Theories Abound in GOP

Too long for a Facebook status, kind of short for a blog post, my opinion of the unbelievable events currently going on in Washington, D.C….

In my opinion, it is highly unprofessional and unbecoming for our elected officials in Congress to push unsubstantiated conspiracy theories in front of TV cameras while undermining our law enforcement / intelligence communities.

It is the reason I stopped listening to conservative talk radio eight years ago when “the sky is falling” mentality had everyone in an uproar day after day. All negative, all anger — people cannot live without hope.

Sadly, the lights are in danger of going dark in the shining city on the hill.

#WhereIsMyGOP

Background:
Some U.S. Senators Are Increasingly Sounding Like Conspiracy Theorists
Don’t Recklessly #ReleasetheMemo

Dignity and Restraint

Khizr Khan of Charlottesville was responding to the controversy surrounding Donald Trump and America’s Gold Star families and, while he may not speak for all of them, his remarks were: “Dignity and restraint.”

Dignity and restraint … that, he said, was what was missing from Trump’s ongoing back-and-forth with fallen hero La David Johnson’s family.

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The 9/11 Bullhorn Speech from President George W. Bush

A president who had barely taken office was faced with the worst attack ever on American soil, and he rose to the occasion. It can never be said enough … we cannot forget the terrorism attacks of 9/11 and the 3,000 innocent souls who perished that day. I hope those who were too young to be impacted by the events of that day will listen to those who were there.

Spontaneous chants roared from the crowd of rescue workers on September 14, 2001, three days after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, as President George W. Bush stood at Ground Zero and, with bullhorn in hand, said the words that were heard around the world:

President Bush: Thank you all. I want you all to know — it can’t go any louder (referring to the bullhorn) — I want you all to know that America today is on bended knee, in prayer for the people whose lives were lost here, for the workers who work here, for the families who mourn. The nation stands with the good people of New York City and New Jersey and Connecticut as we mourn the loss of thousands of our citizens.

Rescue Worker: I can’t hear you!

President Bush: I can hear you! I can hear you! The rest of the world hears you! And the people — and the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon.

Rescue Workers: (Roar from the crowd) USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA!

President Bush: The nation sends its love and compassion …

Rescue Worker: God bless America!

President Bush: … to everybody who is here. Thank you for your hard work. Thank you for making the nation proud, and may God bless America.

Rescue Workers: (Chanting) USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA!

It was a moment that uplifted the nation and brought American solidarity. May we never forget.

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Trump’s Afghanistan Speech, House Majority Leader’s Response

It was a perfect example that governing is different than campaigning, or perhaps that saying one thing to get elected morphs into something else once in office (see Trump’s years of tweets calling for U.S. to leave Afghanistan).

In Monday night’s speech President Donald Trump reversed years of publicly and harshly criticizing previous presidents when he declared that they were wrong in their policy of Afghanistan, and his determination that America should withdraw troops from Afghanistan.

Trump’s speech announced to the nation that more American soldiers were going to be sent onto the battlefield.

Following Trump’s speech Monday night regarding Afghanistan, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (CA-23) commented:

“There is no substitute for American leadership. I applaud the Trump Administration for refocusing our military efforts and supporting our brave warfighters by laying out a strategy that will help produce a more secure, stable, and sovereign Afghanistan. I am confident of the path ahead, and will work with my colleagues to ensure our troops have the resources they need to succeed in their mission. This framework for action is the right thing to do for Afghanistan, the United States, and the world.”

Fox News: Transcript of Trump’s announcement.

Background info: The Washington Post – Trump announces new strategy for Afghanistan that calls for a troop increase

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Sen. Susan Collins … Pragmatic, Rational Republican Leader

Senator Susan Collins of Maine is a pragmatic, rational, New England Republican who represents her constituents. To the right wing of the GOP she is a RINO and a moderate, titles that are not derogatory to everyone, but to the Maine residents she is exactly who they want standing up for them.

This Bangor interview from Monday’s MSNBC is a good look at where Sen. Collins stands. Take a listen with an open mind.

 

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Joe Manchin Shows Backbone

In the world of politics, Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) has always been his own man. In today’s toxic political climate, he continues that path but his latest exchange showed he definitely belongs in the Backbone Club that consists of those not swayed by polls, bullied by fringe groups, or ruled by reelection fears.

Talking with the Charleston Gazette, Manchin was emphatic about standing up for what was important for West Virginians:

“I don’t give a s–t, you understand? I just don’t give a s–t,” he said. “Don’t care if I get elected, don’t care if I get defeated, how about that. If they think because I’m up for election, that I can be wrangled into voting for s–t that I don’t like and can’t explain, they’re all crazy.”

“I’m not scared of an election, let’s put it that way. Elections do not bother me or scare me. I’m going to continue to do the same thing I’ve always done, extremely independent.”

The Backbone Club is populated with other elected representatives who have taken a principled stand and not backed down: Sen. John McCain, Sen. Jeff Flake, Sen. Ben Sasse, Sen. Lisa Murkowski, Sen. Susan Collins, Sen. Lindsey Graham, Sen. Cory Gardner, Rep. Barbara Comstock, and Gov. John Kasich. There may be others who deserve to be added to this list.

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U.S. House Schedule for Friday, July 28, 2017

FRIDAY, JULY 28TH
On Friday, the House will meet at 9:00 a.m. for legislative business. First votes expected: 10:45 a.m. – 11:45 a.m. Last votes expected: TBD.

One Minute Speeches

S. 114 – A bill to authorize appropriations for the Veterans Choice Program, and for other purposes, as amended (Closed Rule, One Hour of Debate) (Sponsored by Sen. Dean Heller / Veterans Affairs Committee)

H.R. 3180 – Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018, as amended (Closed Rule, One Hour of Debate) (Sponsored by Rep. Devin Nunes / Permanent Select Intelligence Committee)

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Gillespie, Northam Campaigns Regroup After Homestead Debate

Here we are again in a place we’ve been before as we find ourselves in a bellwether election, this time to test the nation’s temperament for the man in the White House. November’s results could give insight into the 2018 mid-term elections.

There are only two gubernatorial races in the country this year. Republicans are not expected to prevail in New Jersey so all eyes are on Virginia’s Governor race between 55-year-old Republican Ed Gillespie and 57-year-old Democrat Ralph Northam. That includes their respective political parties who are eager for a win.

Email boxes have been filled with the tiresome but obligatory chest-thumping emails as both sides point fingers at their opponent to expose their “big money” campaign contributions when, in reality, the money-dumping is happening on both sides.
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