GOP’s case to replace party’s mascot with lemming
Public impeachment hearings began last week in the U.S. House of Representatives and we learned Republicans should change their symbol from an elephant to a cliff-bound lemming. It left me rooting for truth and asking my weekly question: “What the (BLEEP) just happened?”
Here’s the GOP’s dullwitted impeachment defense, in a nutshell: You might like President Donald Trump. And you might believe his July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy — in which the president appears to leverage congressionally approved military aid to get Zelenskiy to dig up dirt on a political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden — was ill-advised but not grounds for impeachment.
But you can’t embrace the Trump-did-nothingwrong defenses Republicans trotted out during the first public impeachment hearings and also claim you’re tethered to reality.
For starters, the witnesses who testified — Bill Taylor, acting U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, and George Kent, deputy assistant secretary at the U.S. State Department, on Wednesday and former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch scheduled for Friday — are the type of people Republicans, prior to drinking Trump’s Kool-Aid and getting all kooky-eyed, would have called “honorable patriots.”
Heck, Taylor, a Vietnam War veteran, even criticized former President Barack Obama’s Ukraine policy during his testimony, and both he and Kent were named to their current posts BY TRUMP OFFICIALS.
But Republicans dismissed these witnesses as “Never Trumpers” and treated them like they were rumor-mongering school kids.
House Republicans in the hearing also tried relentlessly to claim Trump couldn’t have done anything wrong because military aid to the Ukraine wound up going through and Ukrainian officials never launched a Biden investigation. That overlooks the fact the aid was released only after a whistleblower report was filed.
Speaking of the whistleblower, Republicans continued their quixotic quest to round up that anonymous and protected-underfederal-law person. They griped about the lack of a whistleblower to demonize while sitting in front of two actual witnesses (Kent and Taylor) who were blowing the whistle on virtually everything the whistleblower had claimed. If an anonymous tipster tells you your dog ate your hamburger and then your dog tells you he ate your hamburger, the identity of the tipster becomes quite irrelevant. (Though you might still wonder when your dog started talking.)
Lastly, they complained witnesses were not giving a “firsthand account” of alleged misdeeds. Yet those same Republicans support Trump’s refusal to allow people who do have firsthand knowledge — like chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Council legal adviser John Eisenberg — to comply with House subpoenas.
It’s almost as if, and you’ll pardon this giant leap of logic, Republicans don’t really have a defense of the president’s actions.
Another day, another school shooting — I guess this just happens now: With breathlike regularity, children are shot to death in American schools.
It has happened so many times now that a Thursday mass shooting at a Southern California high school, which left two students dead and several others injured, was met both with sorrow and a broad sense of hopelessness.
As students were led out of the Santa Clarita high school by rifle-toting deputies, a Los Angeles Times reporter heard a student ask, “What kind of world is this?”
That a child should ask that question is a condemnation of us all.
Lawsuit against riflemaker can move forward: A bit of good news, perhaps, on the gun front came after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that relatives of victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting can pursue a lawsuit against Remington Arms, the maker of the rifle that was used to murder 20 first graders and six teachers.
The Connecticut case could act as a road map for other victims of mass shootings to get around a federal law that protects firearms makers from being sued when their products are used in crimes.
I say: Go get ’em.
The Bears should kneel before Colin Kaepernick: The Chicago Bears quarterback situation is, in two words, not good. Mitch Trubisky has regressed this season and backup Chase Daniel is not likely to energize the team.
But the Bears organization has a chance to make the team better and make a statement. Exiled quarterback Colin Kaepernick will be giving a free-agent workout Saturday, and teams from across the league are expected to attend.
Kaepernick was tossed aside by the National Football League because he dared to protest social and racial injustice by kneeling during the national anthem.
The injustice of that reaction has become clearer since his departure, as teams have scooped up myriad subpar quarterbacks rather than taking a chance on a lightning rod like Kaepernick.
The Bears could use a lightning rod right now. Just as they could use a good quarterback.
Stephen Miller is a spooky racist ghoul: Speaking of racism, Trump immigration adviser Stephen Miller, who we’ve all known for ages is a rabid white nationalist, was revealed to be a rabid white nationalist last week when the Southern Poverty Law Center released a trove of Miller’s past emails.
They reveal a man obsessed with anti-immigrant views who relies on racist literature like the novel “Camp of the Saints” to back up his desire for a whiter America.
This is the man responsible for much of America’s current immigration policy. If you aren’t bothered by this, you’re likely a fellow traveler of Miller’s.
There’s no new wall, suckers! Finally, anyone who believes Trump’s much-ballyhooed border wall is actually being built is buying exactly what the conman-in-chief is selling.
Acting Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Mark Morgantold reporters Thursday the only new wall construction has come in places that already had fencing or barriers. The total amount of replacement wall covers 78 miles. The total amount of new wall is zero miles.
And for the record, Mexico hasn’t paid for anything.
George Kent, left, and Bill Taylor are sworn in to testify before the House Intelligence Committee on Wednesday.