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Posts published in “Rainey”

Hard times a’coming

It's easy to write critically about the angry mess facing us in Congress.  Almost too easy.

The 118th such gathering along the banks of the Potomac may pose a significant danger to our way of life.  In the House, matters are being led by a fellow with the largest political ego since Napoleon.  This bunch, on his watch, could actually do harm to our Republic.  Great harm.

Fearing no contradiction here, Kevin McCarthy has to be the most flawed, ignoble and dangerously narcissistic human to ever hold the high office of Speaker of the House.  No one in my long memory has shown such utter political depravity in searching for power than the Bakersfield Flash.  On CSPAN.  In our living rooms, no less.

And for what?

To lead a band of misfits and mental midgets so entangled in intra-party schisms and internecine warfare they couldn't vote in unison on a motion to adjourn if the chamber was on fire.

To make matters worse, here's a factoid.  Of the 221 Republican House members in the last Congress, 139 voted to overturn the 2020 presidential election results.  Sixty-two-percent!  It was eight of 51 in the Senate for about 16-percent.  Hardly raw material from which anything even approaching positive legislation can be expected.

Kevin McCarthy will not even come close to containing and managing his own GOP caucus in the House.  As we saw him scurry about the Chamber, begging for votes, we could only imagine what he was giving away.  Chunks of power of the Speaker's office being proffered for short-term support.  Little pieces of power lost to say nothing of his own self-respect.  Forget that!

Ask McCarthy to define "service above self" and he'll immediately say, "No.  No, you've got that backwards."  "Service above Self," by the way, is the motto several million people around the world profess as members of Rotary International.  Wouldn't expect Ol' Kevin to know or even understand that.

McCarthy is kicking good people off committees and replacing them with grossly unqualified faces.  Soon we'll know which of his Party were able to bargain the shrewdest and which he'll shunt off to House oblivion.

We'll see cohort-in-crime, Jim Jordan, digging into the political and personal lives of last year's January 6th Committee.  He's already pointing to Eric Swalwell and Adam Schiff as his chief targets and, given Jordan's past at Ohio State University and in the GOP Caucus, you can expect the lowest-of-the-lowest witch hunts.

The questions that should be in the mind of any right-thinker is who will be "serving the people's interest" and what those "interests" will be.  It's quite doubtful those will be the subjects of any "orderly" Republican gathering.

Again, the "angry mess" of Congressional Republican politics is a too-easy target for anyone watching our national trauma.  We've seen the "worst-of-the-worst" play out on flat screens at home and the corner pub.  From denouncements of acceptable political discourse to attempted bare-knuckled threats to a theatrically desperate attempt to gain personal political power, it's been right in our faces.

It goes without much elaboration to say we have a Democrat in the White House and a slim, but working, Democrat majority in the Senate.  Those are good things to act as keepers of the flame of democracy and to thwart dangerous legislation.

But, what of the rest of us?  We pay for and expect a functioning three-legged stool of Constitutional government.  The White House is O.K. for now.  SCOTUS, which had been expected to be a showplace of Conservatism because of the nature of the President(s) who appointed the majority, is not always so.  The U.S. Senate - one half of the Legislative branch - seems to be "in-check."

At least for now, it's just the U.S. House of Representatives we need be wary of.  Oh, and McCarthy.  And Jordan.  And Biggs.  And Taylor-Green.  And Gaetz.  And Rogers.  And Boebert.  And George Santos.  And...players to be named later.

It's going to be a rocky couple of years.  Dangerous, at times, too.  The inmates in the House cellblock will be in charge of things.

But, I'm looking down the line at 2024.  Will we have people of character - strong character - stepping forward, trying to recapture sanity and decorum in that chamber?  Or, will good, right-thinking folks look at the wreckage and say, "No, not me."  Like Katie Porter - one of the best in the House.  She's bailing out already to run for the Senate in California.  Will others follow?

The "brain drain" is a real possibility.  Unless Democrats and moderate Republicans make a concerted effort.  A concerted effort to overcome the craziness, brazen ignorance and vile activities of a bunch of crazies being led by a true political narcissist.

There's gonna be some tough sledding between now and November, 2024.

 

Some things just don’t change

I covered the Idaho Legislature off and on from 1967 through 1978. Sometimes an interesting experience.  More often than not, pretty dry and usual stuff.

Oh, there was that one time when, sitting at the press desk in the Idaho Senate, the over-the-top pastor of the city's largest Protestant denomination charged in late.   He dropped his bowler, calfskin gloves, silk scarf and camel's hair overcoat in my lap, reached for the pen in my hand to write an overdue opening prayer and said "God will bless you, my Son."

Given that long-ago history, and not living in Idaho now, I haven't paid much attention to legislative comings and goings.

But, catching up with the new cadre of usually mostly rural Idaho legislative folk in recent days, it appears not much has changed.  You can always be sure they'll do something to others they've railed against others doing to them.  And, there's always at least one voice suffering from public "foot-in-mouth" disease.

So, here we are at the beginning of just the second week and both "regularities" have already struck.  In spades.

First, the "new-low-in-the-spoken-word."  Credit Republican Rep. Jack Nelson, of Jerome, with this barn-floor-scraping piece of wisdom.

When discussing with his "peers" matters of women's health, Ol' Jack stopped the conversation with this jewel during a meeting of the House Agriculture Committee.

Quote - I've milked a few cows, spent most of my time walking behind lines of cows.  So, if you want some ideas on repro(duction) and the women's health thing, I have some definite opinions.  End Quote.  Mercifully.  Note, he said "repro.

Those are the kinds of spoken legislative expressions that keep Boise bars so busy when the "body" is in session.  Regular "frog stranglers."

Now, there's that other always-present legislative prerogative of doing to others what they fear will be done to them.  Rep. Bruce Skaug's abortion-related bill is an excellent example.  If said bill were to become law - and there's some very valid arguments to oppose that - the State would withhold sales tax and other revenues that normally flow to the cities and counties.  Revenues on which local governments depend. Life's blood.  The State would do so, if - IF - local governments would not investigate violations of- or not enforce-Idaho abortion laws/rules.  Boy, howdy!

Skaug's bill would amend a foul piece of 2021 legislative handiwork called the "No Public Funds for Abortions Act."  His bill, according to the author, would also target any local government that declares itself a "sanctuary" city or takes similar action.

Skaug said if cities are allowed to go unchecked on the subject of abortion, "We're going to end up like Portland or Seattle and (see) the anarchy that has started to enter those cities."

In my old days around the press room, we used to bet on which early bills - such as Mr. Skaug's - would make it to the Governor's desk.   Were I there today, I'd bet "No" on this one.  But, some bad bills - worse than this - have cost me some loose betting change.

From its earliest days, Idaho's legislatures could always be counted on to hold to one precept.  Looking upwards on the old federal government "food chain," the constant has been "Don't be telling us what to do when you give us your money."  Somewhere, in the bowels of the Capitol, I swear, those words - or something similar - are inscribed on a piece of faux marble.

The Idaho Legislature spends a lot of time on its hind legs flailing away at the perceived "evil" feds for such outrageous demands as "accountability" when dealing with the downwards flow of government money.

But, that same body sees no shame in putting strings all over a package of State dollars headed to cities and counties.  Often, more like ropes.

It's said only two things in life are certain: "death and taxes."  I would submit, for your consideration, an unqualified third: the Idaho Legislature.  One: for outrageous quotes from supposed "wise" lawmakers.  And, two: turning a blind eye to genuine double-think when it deals with dollars and lower levels of governments.

Was then.  'Tis now.  Seems it ever shall be.

 

Despicability

O.K.

We've made it out of 2022 alive.  Somehow.  So, here we are.  Stepping off into 2023 with high hopes it'll be a better 12 months.  And, maybe it will.

After moments of resolution-making and reflection, have you given a thought lately to about how many of us there are in the old U.S. of A. as we enter a new cycle?

Folks at the U.S. Census Bureau have.  They've been sifting through the huge stacks of data in the back room and have come up with an educated guess.   Or two.

The first guess is a projection that 334, 233, 854 of us now take up residence border-to-border and coast-to-coast.  That number has grown roughly 1,571,393 in the last 12 months.

Another piece of minutia from the Bureau.  There is one birth every nine seconds and one death every 10 seconds.  Net international migration adds about one new face every 32 seconds.

So, if you combine the number of births, deaths and international migration, we gain one person every 27 seconds.  How 'bout that?

As for how many of us there are on the entire planet at the moment, that would be an estimated 7,942,645,086.  And counting.  Worldwide, the four-point-three births and two deaths each second.

The Bureau maintains a "Population Clock" which displays the simulated, real-time growth of both the U.S. and world head count.  And, it's constantly in motion.  (You can keep a daily watch at www.census.gov/popclock.)  There, you'll see a moving headcount from birth to age 100, growth by male/female, the most populous and highest density states.  You can also link to a world clock from that site with even more information.

If you localize things a bit, Washington State is largest in the Northwest with about 7,800,000 residents at the beginning of the year.  Next comes Oregon with some 4,240,137 souls and Idaho is third with about 1,940,000.

But, it's not the number of us that matters.  No, we should be more concerned with how the enumerated behave.  And, if you've been watching our newly elected members of Congress the last few days, the enumerated have been not only an international disgrace but they've shown a callous disregard for our national security.  Forget decorum.

Whatever hollowed out, empty, worthless victory Kevin McCarthy surrounds himself with in his new Speaker's Office, he's made so many enemies - given up so much power formerly in that powerful position - created so much enmity and distrust with Representatives of both political parties - that he's Captain of a rudderless ship.

The next 24 months are going to see nothing - n-o-t-h-i-n–g - of meaningful legislation.  No coordinated efforts to address the needs of the citizenry, a political party devoid of direction, powerless to conduct even the most diminutive tasks and without vision or goals.

Whatever crackpot, personally vindictive and dangerous bills emanate from that severely damaged and diminished body will face a Senate and a President ready to fill the legislative ash can.

One-half of one-third of our Constitutionally created government is in chaos and totally disabled.  The anger, the desire to payback and willingness to destroy another member's work will haunt the hallowed halls of half our Congress for possibly years to come.

And Mr. McCarthy - like some wounded Captain Bligh - will have rendered one of the most powerful political offices of Congress - powerless.

There will be no legislative accomplishment count because of the Republican body count.

Happy New Year!

So …

Here we are at the opening days of 2023.  This is the period when nearly all mass media put together a "review" of the year.

I've always disliked the practice.  If you've ever read or listened to more than one year-end round up of the "top 10" or the "12 most important stories" of the previous 12 months, you've probably discovered why I don't like 'em.

They're all different.  No two are alike.  Which makes them meaningless.

That's because most of 'em are one person's pick of stories or events.  Someone was assigned the task of putting together a "year-ender" so that list is of the random choices of just one person or a small group, like an editorial board.

If you're going to look back at the 12 months we've all just lived through, it seems to me the importance of those events is purely personal.  In other words, how did the totality of events impact you?

For me, 2022 was a year I'd like never to repeat.  I say that because, if you boil down the entire 365 days, there have been just two over-powering events in our lives and both of them impacted everybody.

Covid-19 and Trump.  Everything else was far less important to us as a nation.

At the moment, Covid and its various medical mutations, are wreaking havoc on young and old.  Hospitals are, again, filling up with victims.  New requirements for mask-wearing, social distancing and other precautions have been implemented in many places.

Even the vaccinated and the boosted are among the casualties though the shots seem to have weakened some of the effects and the death count is not high.  Except in China.

Covid is, once more, forcing us to take counter-measures and alter some of our daily routines.  More boosters may be offered in the coming year.  The damned thing just won't go away.

Same thing for Trump.

In thinking about Donald - which we're forced to do by his continued, belligerent presence - I tend to let what I want to happen to him overshadow what is more likely in the legal system.

What I want is for him to be tried, convicted of a crime de jour, sentenced and sent to a deep hole so we don't have to see his face in media reports - multiple reports - every day.

However, we have a good legal system with laws and rules.

Oh, he's more-than-likely to be charged with something - or several somethings - after prosecutors wrestle with charging a former President with a crime.

In my mind, some level of government must charge DJT - former President or not.  If he's not charged, some criminal act by a future executive can go unpunished as he/she points to Trump as evidence of Presidential immunity and wrongdoing(s) being given a pass.

Also, the issue of someone - former President or not - being above the laws the rest of us live under can't be allowed to happen.  What that would mean as a precedent for future legal actions anywhere is just unthinkable.

No.  More than likely, some grand jury in Fulton County, Georgia, the District of Columbia, New York State or the Southern District of New York will indict.  Then, the issue becomes the step of arresting and the perp walk that goes with it.  So be it.  Get it on.

Yes, there were other events in my personal 2022 worth remembering and a few worth forgetting.  That's true for each of us.  The good.  The bad.  The ugly.  The usual properties of life.

As is usual, I've made no New Year's resolutions.  Waste of time.  As is also the usual case, those euphoric thoughts are soon forgotten.  If I'd written a list,  I'd probably stepped on several the first week.

An old Chinese practice is to add a year to everyone's life the first day of a new year.  Under that practice, I'm four-score-and-seven.  Never ceases to amaze me.  Same age as the opening line Lincoln used in his Gettysburg address.

As for you, I offer my best wishes for a stressless and calm12 months in which good things happen.  May the bright light of truth guide your ways and the stars of night keep you on course.

Happy New Year!

 

 

Prayer time

rainey

All right.

If 2022 has been the year of investigation, 2023 should be the year of charging, adjudication to separate the guilty from the innocent and confining the guilty.

For the last three years, we've been inundated with investigations. There aren't many rocks that haven't been overturned and examined. We've found plenty of wrong-doers. We know who they are and what they've done.

Evidence of that wrong-doing by a former President and his minions is overwhelming. Boxes and boxes and boxes have been filled with the findings of this, that and the other investigations. We've got paperwork, final reports, video and audio of incriminating acts and other evidence. Enough for several trials.

Let 'em commence.

The new Congress to be sworn in in a week's time is not likely to be one that gets things done. Just like the last several.

Unless.

Unless some of the older, wiser and honorable folk can agree - or disagree - on the legitimate issues and take on the tasks of governing to which they've sworn. Define whatever common ground of governance there be and get to it!

We've been expensively - and poorly - served by several congressional gatherings. In too many instances, the "tail" has "wagged the dog" and many of the tasks to be undertaken have fallen through the large cracks that seem to be everywhere on Capitol Hill.

Yes, we've got Marjorie Taylor-Green, Matt Gaetz, Andy Biggs and several dozen other "crazies" to deal with. And, we've got a totally unqualified and overly self-serving persona in Kevin McCarthy, camped out at the door of the House Speaker's office. Yes, we've got "crazies" in both Houses.

But.....

At last count, there are far more serious heads existing than the small band of political "terrorists." If those of the larger, wiser group can put aside the issues dividing them, get together and undertake the job of governing, we will see progress.

Statistically, the aforementioned, obnoxious voices can be muzzled and ignored. There are legislative rules that can - if used in the proper way - dispatch them to the "children's table," out-of-sight and out-of-earshot so the adults in the room can do the work before them. Can govern.

Governing is possible if the wiser heads exert the kind of leadership we used to see with the Bob Dole's, Sam Nunn's, Hubert Humphrey's, Sam Irvin's, and Everett Dirksen's of the world. Different parties. Different views of the same issues. Different ways of contributing to the whole. But, they did! They made their cases, debated long into the night, voted and resumed governing.

It can still be done. If. If. If those current, wiser heads of both major parties want to do it. It can be done.

And, another thing. This idea of job preservation has got to be overcome. Positions are taken and votes cast based on protecting one's employment rather than the proper consideration of issues. Some, like Idaho's Risch and Crapo, don't have to worry about that. Too many mindless constituents concerned only with the "R" on the ballot have assured them of continued income.

But, there are others - many others in both Party's - who vote self-interest rather than casting a vote the folks at home might not like.

I used to have a friend who said, the only way he'd run for the Idaho Legislature, is if he could take the floor on the first day and proclaim his intention to vote on every issue on its worth and not what one anonymous voter would think about any singular vote in the next election.

Works for me.

This new Congress will be plagued by the Taylor-Green's and Boebert's of the world. They'll continue to rant and rave in their ignorance. They'll cling to whatever the newest phony issue is among their far-right sycophants and continue to act as hideous side shows to the work of Congress.

But.

But, they can be shut down and ignored by a larger, smarter majority in both parties. If there is a will to do it. If there are enough wiser heads that want to do the people's work. If there are enough wiser heads who want to live up to their oaths. Enough who are willing to say "Enough!"

Brothers and Sisters, let us pray.

 

Sorta

rainey

O.K.. We have a Congress. Sorta.

If you mean 435 butts in their seats in the House and 100 more in the Senate furniture, yeah, we got us a Congress. Took awhile. But, we got one.

Took a long time. With several dust-ups in a few places. We suffered through the embarrassment of the Walker candidacy. We watched all of Trump's political wannabees bite the dust. We held our collective breaths for the Secretary of State races as, one after the other, election deniers were stopped in their tracks.

Yeah. We got a Congress. Now, what?

Most candidacies dealt with reality. Facts. A lot of 'em blew Trump-smoke of denialism and lies. Fortunately, their misbegotten lots are now, for the most part, memories. But, memories we shouldn't forget.

The question is, once these folks swear in come January, will they get anything done? Will the exercise of our efforts at the polls be fruitful or will we get the same old divisions? And stalemate.

Every so often, one of our national pols does something to infuriate the electorate. The most recent, Senator Krysten Sinema who, after the election dust settled, said she was no longer a Democrat. Nuthin' new there. She hasn't been a Democrat since the day she was sworn in four years ago. Just ask Arizona Democrats.

While her announcement was full of soft, pleasing sentiments, the truth is, she's watching out for her own butt. After reading angry tea leaves on the home front and a mailbag full of denouncements of her D.C. activities, she figured if she ran as an Independent in 2024, she could muster enough Republican votes to survive.

I doubt it. We'll see. Her exit - stage right - wasn't met with happy faces on the Hill. Democrats had a clear 51-49 majority before she opened her mouth. Now, they're back to 50-50, given her erratic behavior thus far.

Current Independents Angus King and Bernie Sanders seemed less than welcoming in their comments after Sinema's announcement. Especially Sanders. She may now be a Senator without a friend.

On the House side of things, we have the dishonorable Kevin McCarthy shouting from the housetops that he's going to be the next Speaker of the House. He's already named committee heads and filled out rosters of member assignments. He's measured the drapes and drawn up floor plans for furniture.

I've never seen a politician so coveting of a promotion. But, there he is. Telling everybody. Problem is, he, so far, hasn't been able to round up the 218 votes needed to be elected Speaker. Not able to get the commitments. Seems there are those 40 angry members of the House euphemistically called the "freedom caucus." So, McCarthy hasn't got the votes he needs for the Speakership. Well, well.

Can you imagine the bargaining going on. Horse trading, if you will. Those committee chairmanships. Preferential assignments proffered. Ol' Kevin has his back to the wall. Suddenly, you may see some new, unfamiliar faces in "leadership."

Another thing. Ol' Kevin doesn't appear to have any idea of the job description. Just "giving orders" is not the prime requirement. He doesn't appear to have any idea how the job works, i.e. bridging arguing factions, decorum and so on.

A more diligent, effective Congress? Hardly.

Yes, we have a Congress. Sorta.

 

Who knew?

rainey

I don't know who comes up with the names of various generations as the years pass. Never met anyone else who does, either.

But, we have "The Greatest Generation," "Boomers," "Millenials" "Gen Xers," Gen Zers," and so on. Every 30 years or so, we look back on a new group, a new name, move over and welcome them aboard. This process has been going on a long time. One bunch after the other. Normally, it's a smooth transition. Normally.

Now, there seems to be a schism developing between Boomers and Millennials in some areas. Just a little distance, one from the other. And, it's growing

Barb and I have some experience with generational differences. Living in a 55+ community in Arizona, we had more than 50 clubs. Just about everything you could name had at least one club. Auto repair, Olympic swimming, pickleball, several for those playing bridge (or any game), woodworking, quilting, fencing and on and on.

Some, like woodworking and auto repair, enjoyed large buildings with the very best equipment money could buy. Hundreds of thousands of dollars invested. Quilting clubs with large meeting places. Weavers and their looms. Photography. All costly. All first class!

Then, along came the Boomers. A new generation starting to retire. Lots and lots of Boomers who, we figured, would join the existing plethora of clubs and activities. "Something for everyone" we thought.

But, NO! Boomers, we learned, are "special." If most wanted to join a club, it would be one they would create and occupy. The older folks, with clubs offering "something for everyone," just "wouldn't work for Boomers."

So, there's been a lot of duplication. Double a lot of everything. And, as older residents have died out or moved away, the existing clubs with beautiful existing facilities have begun to wither a bit. But, Boomers are thriving. At least for now.

So, we're told, it seems, "Boomers are where the action is." But, wait! Hold your horses! The Millennial generation has arrived. Those "kids" have reached retirement age. So, guess what. They don't want to join the Boomers in anything. And, I mean anything!

Millennials, it seems, don't want to do woodworking. They've got no use for face-to-face bridge playing. Or poker clubs. Or sewing groups. Or chess clubs. And, horror of horrors, they don't play golf! Fact is, the city of Glendale, Arizona, closed one municipal course because of declining revenue. Built houses on it.

For Millenials, there's no need to "waste" five or six hours at the links. No. They can play 18-holes on their iPads or smart phones and be done in less than 20-minutes.

Millennials can play bridge on their fancy gadgets. They can play chess around the world. Poker, too. Just about any activity you can name can be successfully played - or created - on their computer-oriented devices. No need for fancy club buildings. Or, auto repair equipment. No need for in-person bridge clubs or their bridge rooms.

Millennials, after all, are the first generation to grow up from birth with computers. Some were playing electronic games at about the same time they learned to walk. They went to computer equipped- schools, formed faceless groups of friends, preferred texting to calling, learned from the cradle to tap keys.

Now, guess what. Now, the Boomers are seeing their own duplicate groups and clubs beginning to thin out. Some Boomers are dying off. Some moving elsewhere. Boomers, it seems, are beginning to be the "older" generation in the retirement villages.

So, what's going to happen to all those clubs? All those buildings filled with state-of-the-art expensive equipment? And, most of all, what's going to happen to all those golf courses that have lured retirees to Arizona, New Mexico, Southern California and other warm climes for - careful now - for generations?

Maybe - just maybe - we've reached a generational turning point. Those of us who had to learn about computers in our 40's, 50's and 60's are disappearing. We're being replaced by "youngsters"at the same ages who are "computerized." From birth!

What lies ahead for hundreds of 55+ retirement communities in several states will be very different. Nearly all were designed around golf courses. Nearly all have been run by thousands and thousands of volunteers.

But, Millennials aren't golfers. And, as they've already proven, they don't volunteer. Oh, they'll write a check or two. They don't mind paying for someone else to do the work. But, they won't be the "heartbeat" of these communities that's made them so successful. The volunteers and club-joiners who've been the driving forces.

Millennials, and the following generations, are going to retire later, they'll be older and, as already exhibited. They'll want someone else to do the many, many chores volunteers have traditionally done to make the Sun Cities of the world - and a lot of others - successful.

Boomers are starting to fade. Millennials, Gen-Xers, Gen Zers and more are coming. Whoever names the generations better sharpen that pencil - er - computer.

The times - they are a changin'. Again.

 

Are you ready

rainey

There's a lot of cud-chewing going on in media and political circles these days about whether D.J. Trump should be charged with a crime. Pick a crime. Any crime.

One side of the argument is charging him - if evidence warrants - would bring violence in the streets and bloodshed. Militias, Proud Boys et al. would rise up and raise Holy Hell in the country. Maybe.

The other side of the conversation believes Trump deserves no better or no worse treatment and, if evidence is solid enough, he should face the music just as any other citizen would.

As citizens, we all "have a dog in this fight" which means we all need to pay attention. Based on my local itinerant conversations and eavesdropping, not everybody is. More folks should because, if there are actions in the streets, they're gonna be involved, like it or not.

Nobody - even his supporters - can claim Trump has not done significant damage to this country already. The only discussion point can be just how much. It's hard to imagine any part of civil society he's not damaged in one way or the other. That's just a fact.

Even if he soon "Exits, Stage Right," it'll take years to fix what's broken and get things back to normal.

So the only real question on the table should be "Charge, which charge or not to charge?"

"We are a nation of laws," the old saying goes. And, we're told from birth, "no one is above the law." I believe both statements. I've lived a life in accordance with those beliefs. So, it would seem, the answer is easy.

If the evidence is there - and I believe it is - charge him and try him. Let a jury of his peers sort it out.

Some people say "No American President has ever been charged with a crime." True that.. It's also NOT to say a couple of them shouldn't have been, though they weren't.

That argument doesn't hold up. Yes, it would be precedent-setting. So what? Trump, himself, was a "precedent." Guy with no elective office experience walks in off the street and BOOM - he's a president.

Proponents of the "no charge" side of things also worry there'll be violence in our streets if he's arraigned. So?

This country has seen violence in our streets before. And, we're still here. The union movement in the first half of the last century was filled with violence. And death. We also had soldiers in the streets and violence that brought them there during the Great Depression.

I was wrapped up in violence in our streets during those anti-war demonstrations in Washington D.C. in the sixties. In similar, but smaller marches across the country, we had violence aplenty. National Guard killing unarmed students at Kent State. And, none of this speaks to those killed in our streets during Revolutionary times. Or our Civil War of the 1860's.

Violence - even death - in our streets is nothing new. We can be certain it will happen again - with or without Trump.

It seems the larger crime would be not to charge if the evidence warrants. What, then, happens to those precepts of this nation being one of laws and no one is exempt? Do we let the guilty walk, while saying to ourselves, "Well, not this time - maybe next time?"

None of us should be "asking" for violence. But, none of us should look the other way if violence there be. We've got police, national guard and the military if things get that bad. No one really wants violence. But, we are as well prepared for it as can be. If a bunch of militia folks want to take on all of the professionals, I say "Have at it."

There's also this reality. Juries and other legal bodies are reviewing evidence of Trump-linked crimes in three states, the District of Columbia, Congress and DOJ. One of those institutions - maybe more than one - will most certainly hand down some indictments. The only questions are what charges and where? It's gonna happen.

Again, those who haven't given this much thought really should. It's an issue of being a citizen of this country that's new. And, a bit frightening. The trial - one place or another - of a former U.S. President. Possibly a criminal trial. If found guilty, the imprisonment of a former U.S. President.

From all indications, Trump's realizing the likelihood. The rest of us should, too.

 

Falling on a sword

rainey

Yes, the hearings of the January 6th Committee have been riveting. Yes, the Committee seems to be making a case against the former president that could be a great study for law students wanting to be prosecutors. Yes, the witnesses and evidence are convincing. But...

Buried in the mountain for testimony and miscellany, there's a small drama taking place. A human interest piece that's gone largely unreported. A story of someone "falling on a sword" that will most likely end a political career.

We could be watching the end of Rep. Liz Cheney's political days. At least in Congress.

On the other hand, we may be seeing the beginning of a new career in non-elected public life that will find her rising to new prominence.

First, the bad news. At nearly this time when she ran for re-election, Cheney was a solid eight-points behind her opponent in Wyoming's primary season. Somehow, she overcame that and won. Barely. Fast forward to 2020, same time period, same opponent. Polling going into her primary in September polling had her behind 28-points! A death knell.

How could she fall so far? What made the difference so negative for someone from Wyoming's premier political family? Wha hoppen? Hold that thought.

Go back about 50 or so years and look at the last days of the meteoric rise and sudden fall of Idaho's Sen. Frank Church. Remember who beat him in the 1980 general election? A political nobody - a Republican far to Democrat Church's right - somebody many Idahoans never heard of. Steve Symms.

Symms - with his big smile - his seeming unbounded energy - an Idahoan most people didn't know unless they were part of the state's Conservative wing of Gem State Republicanism. A guy they would call - post-election - the "Giant Killer" who knocked off a big, nationally known politician. Frank Church

Church - who had been highly popular - a gifted orator - a guy many called "Golden Boy - Frank Church rose to national prominence as Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relation's Committee. He oversaw the return of the Panama Canal to Panama after decades of U.S. "ownership." He was one of very few politicians - from any country - invited to speak at the United Nations even though he was not a head-of-state. He had a highly positive national reputation. A reputation that was one of the most cited reasons for his political downfall in Idaho.

"Too big for his britches," was not uncommon when Church's name came up in conversations in 1976. "He's not paying attention to those of us who sent him there," many said. And they voted him out!

Fast-forward to 2022 in Casper, Rock Springs, Laramie, Cheyenne and other communities in the "Cowboy State." Walk the streets, ask what people think about the job Liz Cheney's doing in Washington and you heard many of the same quotes.

"She's so busy going after Trump she's not paying attention to us." "We didn't send her back there to be on TV every night." And similar short-sighted - not to mention ignorant - expressions.

If you're a member of Congress from California, New York, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Colorado or even Utah, you can most often make a national name for yourself and survive. Dianne Feinstein, John McCain, Sherrod Brown, Mo Udall and a lot more. All with national - or international - profiles and all have - or had - long political careers.

But Idaho - population 800,000 in Church's time; Wyoming - 2020 population 581-thousand in Cheney's - the higher you rise, the more national prominence attached to your name. So, of course, "You're just not paying enough attention to the folks at home."

Any politician who wants to remain in national office has an overriding necessity for filling one job. Just one. Constituency service. Be responsive - very responsive - to every call, every letter, every request for help, every complaint. Respond. Phone. Email. Snail mail. Respond to all.

But, the caveat is, even that sometimes doesn't work. Church, for example, I can say from lengthy first-hand experience, had an excellent constituency response. Cheney, raised in the political climes of Washington, and in an influential political family, may have had the same.

Still, both were considered "too big for their britches."

First evening of the January 6th televised hearings, Cheney was the "wheel horse." She was given the most TV time and was second only to the Chairman allowed to ask questions.

Was her political career considered when programming was done? Was her stellar performance part of an "audition" for future prominence - whether in or out of elected office? Were the "underwater" polling numbers thought about? Was the time allotted because Dems outnumber GOP members on the Committee seven to two?

We'll never know. But, one thing we DO know is that, going into her 2022 election, Cheney was a 28-point polling underdog, "power of incumbency" or no. That's considered "having both hands tied behind your back"in matters political. Something that had to be weighing heavily on her personally. Or, maybe when she resisted GOP demands she not serve on the committee, she knew her fate was sealed.

Given her nearly-impossible-to-overcome deficit with the folks at home, Liz Cheney probably felt "falling on her sword" in the name of "doing what's right" was the right - the honorable - thing to do.

Those three words - "doing what's right" - have been heard a number of times in the hearings already. They'll be heard more before the saga is over.

At the moment, they seem to apply mostly to Ms. Cheney. In spades!