Even D. Cheney Gets It

It was telling–and tellingly unsurprising–that gutless, faux-patriot GOPsters were mostly no-shows at the Jan. 6 Capitol gathering in remembrance of the year-old insurrection that resulted in lost lives, international mortification, an imperiled Constitution and a disgraced democracy. It was a proper forum to honor those who had risked—and, in some cases, given—their lives to literally protect what America still said it stood for. It was a proper forum to remind us all: Never again.

The domestic-siege precedent remains downright scary as three retired Army generals (Paul Eaton, Antonio Taguba, and Steven Anderson) underscored in a WaPo op-ed on the anniversary date. “In short, we are chilled to our bones at the thought of a coup succeeding next time,” they wrote. So don’t be surprised if “Seven Days in May” starts streaming.

And it was appropriate that President Joe Biden repurposed Donald Trump’s BS pulpit to call out the pathologically lying, narcissist instigator. Even better, he didn’t deign to use the Florida retiree’s name. “You can’t love your country only when you win,” said Biden. “His bruised ego matters more to him than our democracy or our Constitution.” All too pathetically true.

Biden’s history-making Democratic predecessor, Barack Obama, also weighed in somberly in reflecting back to Jan. 6, 2021. “The truth is that our democracy is at greater risk today than it was back then,” he noted pointedly. If any American leader knows about risk, it’s America’s first black president.

It was a time for reflection, admonition and premonition—for all those who wanted to see America pivot from “the big lie” chasm to the higher ground of our cherished but vulnerable ideals. And it was, alas, schadenfreude–if not geopolitical end zone spiking–for our authoritarian adversaries.

Among the few Republicans who were there was U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney, who co-chairs the House Committee investigating all aspects of Jan. 6, 2021. It was expected, as she has comported herself as an old-school, country-first Republican. Even more significant—and beyond ironic—however, is that she was accompanied by her father, former Vice President Dick Cheney. He was the war hawk “W” whisperer, whose legacy of disaster is still playing out in the Muddled East. But he has never looked so, well, normal. This is what it took. “I am deeply disappointed at the failure of many members of my own party to recognize the grave nature of the Jan. 6 attacks and the ongoing threat to our nation.”

When Dick Cheney sees a threat to this nation, it’s worth noting for Republicans. Only this time it has nothing to do with “weapons of mass destruction.” Just weapons of mass distortion. It’s past time to grow a spine and see through the Trump cult and its anti-science, isolationist, nativistic machinations and pay attention to America, its founding ideals and its role as the world’s pre-eminent democracy.

Dem Notes

* Scary sequel? NPR has reported that Trump-fawning GOPsters are working hard in states such as Arizona and Georgia, which didn’t yield to Trump intimidation in 2020, to institutionalize the Big Lie. The result: election-deniers running for offices that control the voting process. According to the Washington Post, “at least 163 Republicans who have embraced Trump’s false claims are running for statewide positions that would give them authority over the administration of elections” and “at least five candidates for the U.S. House were at the Capitol during the Jan. 6 riots.”

* As the Biden Administration and America’s NATO allies confront Russia over the implications of a military move on Ukraine, we are reminded that NATOisn’t the only treaty organization involved. While it’s hardly on a par with NATO, there is the CSTO—the Collective Security Treaty Organization, whose members include Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. No, it’s hardly NATOesque, but it does provide Vladimir Putin with a patina of regional support that he will try to leverage.


* Italy: Vaccine shots are now compulsory for those over 50.

* The brutal, beyond-sobering bottom line: If everyone had worn a mask and gotten vaccinated, we’d have fewer dead Americans. Shouldn’t personal “freedom” include doing what’s best to, well, stay alive?

* Thirty-five sailors—citing religious grounds—have sued the U.S. Navy and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin—over vaccination orders. What would Jesus say?

* “The chance of getting COVID-19 on cruise ships is very high, even if you are fully vaccinated and have received a COVID-19 vaccine booster dose.”–CDC statement.

* Norwegian Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean have halted some cruises due to the omicron variant.

* According to the CDC, the hospitalization rate among children ages 5 to 17 is about 1 per 100,000.

* An estimated 1.6 million Americans have chronic smell problems because of COVID.

* More than 5.8 million Floridians—ages 5 and up—remain unvaccinated.

* Florida hospitals are caring for more than 7,000 COVID patients. That number was about 1,000 a month ago.

* Since the school year began (Aug. 10), Hillsborough has reported more than 15,000 cases. A recent week’s total was 2,452. It was 604 for the month of October.

* According to the University of Florida’s Emerging Pathogens Institute, Florida’s surging case numbers should peak by mid-January.

* Flurona”: The term used for those who test positive for both the flu and the coronavirus at the same time.


* So far, Florida “leads” the nation in arrests (76) connected to Jan. 6. (At least 20 are those alleged to belong to either the Oath Keepers or the Proud Boys.)

* In the third quarter of 2021, Florida drew 32.6 million visitors, which was 2 million more than forecast. It’s also 0.3 percent above the number of visitors in the third quarter of pre-pandemic 2019.

* No surprise that Gov. Ron DeSantis is playing down the “insurrection” aspect of the Jan. 6 siege of the Capitol. “It’s an insult to people when you say it’s an ‘insurrection.’ … People here in Florida, they care about inflation, and they care about gas prices and education and crime,” stated DeSantis—as if Floridians focused on inflation, gas prices, education and crime can not also discern and prioritize a literal assault on the Capitol and American democracy.

* Gubernatorial candidate—and former governor—Charlie Crist, the St. Petersburg Congressman, said that if elected in November, he’d veto any state budget that did not include Medicaid expansion. Florida is one of 12 states that still hasn’t expanded Medicaid.

Media Matters

* The (Jan. 31) Grammy Awards have been postponed and the Sundance Film Festival has canceled its in-person festival because of the omicron variant.

* Apple’s market capitalization briefly hit $3 trillion for the first time.

* “Is A Civil War Ahead?”: a recent headline in The New Yorker.

* “In the present situation, the snake oil salesmen are not just Alex Jones, QAnon’s master manipulators and evangelical hucksters. They are senators, powerful white Christian men, prominent media figures, billionaires and their foundations, even a former president.”–Historian Rebecca Solnit, author of “Orwell’s Roses.”

Sports Shorts

* The Washington Football Team—the erstwhile Redskins–will unveil its new name next month. Still on the short list: the Commanders, Defenders, Red Hogs, Armada, Presidents and Brigade. Not on the short list: the Bureaucrats, the Lobbyists, the Filibusters and the Insurrectionists.

* USF has extended football coach Jeff Scott’s contract by two years and will run through 2026. Imagine the extension if the Bulls had done better than 3-18 in Scott’s first two years.

* “You’re done. Get the eff out of here.“ The less-than-nuanced, sideline directive from Bruce Arians to Antonio Brown.

* Speaking of, will another team ultimately sign Brown? Don’t bet against it. The NFL is a big-money business with no lack of athletic mercenaries and win-at-all-costs ownerships and fan bases.

* “Sports is always a community builder. … It’s a way to remind us of the things we have in common, and to help bring us together.”–Tampa Bay Partnership CEO Bemetra Simmons.

* Tampa will host the 2022 U.S. Women’s Gymnastics Championship Aug. 18-21.

* “We believe (the Rays) Sister City Baseball plan with Montreal is a win-win-win for Tampa Bay, Major League Baseball and Montreal.”–From an open letter signed by prominent Tampa Bay business leaders.

* The Yankees have promoted Rachel Balkovec, 34, to manage its Tampa minor league affiliate. Balkovec becomes the first female manager of a team affiliated with Major League Baseball.

Trumpster Diving

* “Truth Society.” That’s Donald Trump’s answer to Twitter and Facebook; it’s expected to be launched soon by the recently formed Trump Media & Technology Group.

* “Mr. Trump will not change, and Republicans who think a campaign to vindicate 2020 is the key to victory in 2022 will lose again.”–Wall Street Journal.

* “Just one day in January.” That’s how former Vice President Mike Pence recently described the Jan. 6 Capitol siege. It also describes Pence’s ultimate, post-Veep agenda: Hang in there, so to speak, and don’t say anything to alienate Trump and his minions.

* “Trump has handed authoritarians such as Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping a huge gift: a United States divided, internally preoccupied and contradicting its own democratic ideals.”–Stanford political scientist Francis Fukuyama.

* “(Trump’s) father divided the world into killers and losers. So rather than admit that he lost re-election, Trump was willing to egg on a seditious cult to overturn the election.”—Maureen Dowd, New York Times.