Posts Tagged ‘john ruberry’

Feinstein official Senate photo, retrieved from her website on January 29, 2023

By John Ruberry

Nearly overlooked earlier this month because of the drawn-out vote for speaker of the House was the breaking of seven decades of precedent in the upper chamber of Congress in the election for largely ceremonial post of president pro tempore of the Senate. Largely ceremonial only up to a point, that is. The holder of that position is third-in-line in presidential succession. Every president pro tempore elected since 1949 had been the longest-serving senator from the majority party. The dean of the Senate is 89-year-old Dianne Feinstein, she has been representing California since 1992. But Patty Murray of Washington, who is a relatively spry 72, was elected president pro tempore, which ups her salary a bit and earns her a security detail.

Feinstein reportedly declined to run for president pro tempore.

Concerns about Feinstein’s mental acuity go back to 2020, when she praised then-Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Lindsay Graham (R-SC) when the confirmation hearings for Amy Coney Barrett concluded. “This has been one of the best set of hearings that I’ve participated in,” she told Graham before hugging him, “I want to thank you for your fairness.” 

Personally, I think Graham did a decent job during those hearings, but Feinstein overlooked–or should I say she couldn’t remember–that during the Donald Trump presidency it was the duty, in the eyes of the Democrats’ hard-left base, for every Democratic member of Congress to RESIST Trump and the Republicans.

Shortly afterwards, Feinstein stepped down as the ranking Democrat of the Judiciary Committee.

Last spring, her hometown newspaper, the San Francisco Chronicle, spoke to members of the House of Representatives and the Senate, as well as ex-Feinstein staffers, about her mental state. And all of them, anonymously, told the Chronicle that because of memory issues, Feinstein appears unable to serve as senator.

More bluntly, in my words, it looks like Feinstein can’t do her job.

“I have worked with her for a long time and long enough to know what she was like just a few years ago: always in command, always in charge, on top of the details, basically couldn’t resist a conversation where she was driving some bill or some idea. All of that is gone,” a California House Dem admitted to the Chronicle about Feinstein. “She was an intellectual and political force not that long ago, and that’s why my encounter with her was so jarring. Because there was just no trace of that.” 

The same article offered up this damning quote, “There’s a joke on the Hill, we’ve got a great junior senator in Alex Padilla and an experienced staff in Feinstein’s office,” a former staffer said.

Last year the New York Times described an experience that will be familiar to anyone who has witnessed a friend or relative suffering from cognitive decline.

One Democratic lawmaker who had an extended encounter with Ms. Feinstein in February said in an interview that the experience was akin to acting as a caregiver for a person in need of constant assistance. The lawmaker recalled having to reintroduce themself to the senator multiple times, helping her locate her purse repeatedly and answering the same set of basic, small-talk questions over and over again.

Tellingly, a visit to Feinstein’s Senate website offers up a photo of her that appears to be a couple of decades old. That’s the pic you see in this entry. Click here for a more recent photograph.

This month, two Democratic southern California members of the House, Katie Porter and Adam Schiff, announced they are running for Feinstein’s seat–her term expires in 2025. Schiff, who repeatedly lied about having evidence proving Trump-Russia collusion, claims he informed Feinstein of his intentions. Believe that if you want to. 

Other candidates are expected to declare their candidacy. Feinstein hasn’t said anything yet, but she’s expected to announce that she will not be running for reelection. 

Clearly, Feinstein should have resigned for health reasons at least three years ago. 

One way to minimize the chances of having senators–and House members–suffering from cognitive decline is to enact congressional term limits, even though that may mean amending the Constitution. Besides, serving in Congress should be a highlight of someone’s career–not the entire career.

Feinstein’s sad situation is not unique in Washington. Two Republicans who served with Feinstein, Strom Thurmond, who ended his 48 years in the Senate at 100, and Thad Cochran, who resigned after 39 years in the Senate, suffered cognitive challenges late in their careers, as well as one Democrat, Robert Byrd–he died in office when he was 92.

For five months in 2001, at the age of 98, Thurmond was president pro tempore. And when Byrd died, he was president pro tempore of the Senate. Hey, hats off to the Democrats for bucking tradition by electing Murray over Feinstein for that post.

Besides congressional term limits, America also needs smarter voters. Although by all accounts Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) is a healthy 89-year-old man. Last year he was just elected to his eighth term. Grassley is a former president pro-tempore.

Having wiser and less selfish members of Congress is probably too much to hope for.

Mental issues can burden younger persons too.

In Pennsylvania, 53-year-old Democrat John Fetterman, who suffered a stroke last year, successfully ran out the clock in his successful Senate election, despite speaking struggles in his few public appearances and a disastrous debate performance

Joe Biden turned 80 last year and he’s expected to run for reelection. Biden has had many mental miscues in his two years at president. But that’s a problem well worth another discussion.

Please don’t call me ageist. If heart ailments, cancer, accidents, or infectious diseases don’t conquer me first, I am certain that one day I will suffer from cognitive issues. 

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

By John Ruberry

“Of course he’s worried about it, the laptop that they found from Hunter is basically a step-by-step description of one of the biggest influence-peddling schemes in history. I mean, the fact is that influence-peddling has been a Biden family business for a long time. They have been rather notorious and open about it. I mean, the Fords are known for cars and the Coors are known for beer, and the Bidens are known for influence-peddling, and it’s an entire family affair.” Jonathan Turley, George Washington University Law School professor.

“I don’t think there’s a lot of things that would have happened in my life if my last name wasn’t Biden.” Hunter Biden.

“I pray Heaven to bestow the best of blessings on this house and all that shall hereafter inhabit it. May none but honest and wise men ever rule under this roof.” John Adams.

The fictional Corleone family of The Godfather books and movies had a front business, Genco Olive Oil. The Biden family has politics as its legitimate front, specifically Joe Biden’s career in Washington as a senator, vice president, and now president. 

Hunter Biden, notoriously served on the board of Burisma Holdings, a Ukrainian energy firm, even though the president’s troubled son had no experience in energy. Hunter doesn’t speak Ukranian. But as vice president, Joe was President Obama’s point man for Ukraine. China is America’s chief geopolitical foe, but Hunter had extensive business dealings with Chinese firms, and that means also the Chinese government, as the ChiComms have their fingers in every large business there.

And in one proposed Chinese deal discovered on the Hunter Biden laptop, there would be “10 held by H for the big guy.” According to Tony Bobulinski, a former Hunter business associate, “the big guy” is “Middle Class Joe,” the 46th president–Joe would collect 10 percent. In that same deal another 10 percent would go to Jim Biden, one of the president’s brothers.

Last week CNN–yes, CNN–reported that Jim Biden “touted his connection with his politically powerful brother, former business associates say.”

And then there is Frank, Joe’s youngest brother. In that same CNN story, it tells of Frank bragging in 2021 about “the bully pulpit that I have as a result of the privilege of being associated with my brother Joey.”

Also in 2021, WFTX-TV in Florida revealed, “the Berman Law Group of Boca Raton regularly touts their ties with the president–featuring Frank and his family connections–on their website and in promotional materials.”

Two days ago, additional classified documents were discovered in Joe Biden’s Wilmington, Delaware home, which Hunter once claimed as his residence.

Were those documents accidentally there? Or is something nefarious going on?

By now it should be clear what the Biden family business really is: Influence-peddling.

The first batch of docs were found at the Biden think tank office in Washington just before the November elections and the White House, including “the big guy,” knew about it and said nothing until CBS broke the news ten days ago. 

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

By John Ruberry

America’s worst big city mayor, Lori Lightfoot of Chicago, finds herself in trouble again. 

Last week, Chicago’s PBS station, WTTW, reported that Lightfoot’s deputy campaign manager, Megan Crane, sent an email to Chicago Public Schools teachers and City Colleges of Chicago instructors, telling them the campaign was seeking students to volunteer as “externs” for Lightfoot’s reelection effort. “Lightfoot for Chicago is seeking resumes from any volunteer interested in campaign politics and eager to gain experience in the field,” the email read. Later in that message comes a quasi-bribe, “Externs are expected to devote 12hrs/wk to the campaign. Students are eligible to earn class credit through our volunteer program.”

When the email became public, the campaign quickly defended its call for volunteers, avowing in a statement that the request was done “to provide young people with the opportunity to engage with our campaign, learn more about the importance of civic engagement and participate in the most American of processes.”

But in a second statement, the campaign said it would “cease contact with CPS employees” citing an “abundance of caution.”

Finally, a couple of hours later, in a third statement, they finally surrendered. “All campaign staff have been reminded about the solid wall that must exist between campaign and official activities and that contacts with any city of Chicago, or other sister agency employees, including CPS employees,” the campaign said, “even through publicly available sources is off limits. Period.”

Last summer, after Willie Wilson, a gadfly candidate who is running for mayor, gathered a lot of attention for gasoline and grocery giveaways, Lightfoot followed suit with her giveaways. But unlike Wilson’s generosity, the mayor’s handouts were paid for by taxpayers.

Laura Washington, a liberal Chicago Tribune columnist, had this to say back in August in a behind-the-paywall op-ed:

Thanks to an “avalanche” of federal stimulus funds, Lightfoot is “running for reelection armed with a seemingly bottomless gift bag of giveaways that includes everything from gas cards, Ventra cards, bicycles, locks and helmets to more than $1,000-per-household in rebates to defray the cost of security cameras, outdoor motion sensor lighting, cloud storage and GPS trackers to hunt down vehicles in the event of an auto theft or carjacking,” the Chicago Sun-Times reported in June. 

Lightfoot’s “Chicago Moves,” is the city’s $12 million transit response to skyrocketing fuel costs and inflation. It will distribute up to 50,000 prepaid $150 gas cards and 100,000 prepaid $50 transit cards to Chicago residents. 

Earlier this year, Lightfoot pushed through a controversial guaranteed income program for low-income families. The pilot program will provide no-strings-attached $500 payments to 5,000 Chicago families per month for a year. The recipients were chosen through a lottery system.

“By coincidence,” Fox Chicago’s Mike Flannery sarcastically opined this morning on his Flannery Fired Up program, “each [gas and public transit] card had Mayor Lighfoot’s name emblazoned right on it.”

The ACLU of Illinois forcefully condemned the campaign’s call for student volunteers. “It is striking that Mayor Lightfoot presented herself four years ago as a candidate who would eschew the old corrupt patronage ways of Chicago politics,” the ACLU of Illinois said in a statement, “Now her campaign employs practices that harken back to the worst days of the Chicago political machine.”

And the ACLU of Illinois says the call-for-volunteers email may have violated federal law.

Crime has skyrocketed since Lightfoot took office. And it shouldn’t surprise you that Chicago’s population is declining. “The city is dying,” former Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass has said at least a couple of times in his Chicago Way podcast.

Lightfoot faces eight opponents in next month’s first round of voting for mayor. In the likely scenario that no candidate achieves a majority in the initial round, the top two candidates face the voters again in April.

In the only opinion poll so far on this race, Lightfoot finished third.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

By John Ruberry

Until last Monday, when Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin suffered cardiac arrest in the first quarter of game with the Cincinnati Bengals, the tragic death of 28-year-old Detroit Lions wide receiver Chuck Hughes in 1971 during a game was nearly forgotten. 

But not by me–I’ll always remember. When I learned that Hamlin collapsed during a play at Paul Brown Stadium, my first thought was of Hughes–and I switched on ESPN, which was airing the Bills-Bengals game. I was stupefied when members of an ESPN studio panel repeatedly, and of course incorrectly, said that Hamlin’s collapse on the field was unprecedented.

I believe it was James Joyce who said something along the lines that the first death a person experiences is the most tragic. For me, at the age of nine, the passing of Hughes was my first death.

I was at home in the Chicago area that afternoon watching the CBS broadcast of the Chicago Bears game against the Lions. The Bears were several years into a long stretch of mediocrity, while the Lions were just entering their time in the wilderness. The prior year the Lions made the playoffs. Since then, the Lions have been victorious in just one playoff game. 

Unlike the Bills-Bengals matchup, which was nationally broadcast on ESPN, the Bears-Lions game probably aired only in Chicago and other parts of the Midwest.

Late in that ’71 game with, the Bears leading by four points, the Lions, led by quarterback Greg Landry, were on a drive–which was aided by a reception by Hughes–and they were deep in Bears territory with a little more than a minute left in the game when Hughes collapsed at the end of a play. 

Not only were there no smartphones or even camcorders in 1971, but NFL broadcasts five decades ago used fewer cameras than what is used now. There is no videotape of Hughes’ collapse. And there is no videotape of Chicago Bears’ middle linebacker Dick Butkus frantically waving his arms to draw attention to Hughes. Last week, Butkus recalled what happened on that afternoon in Detroit. “He was coming back after an incomplete pass, and I couldn’t believe it, the color that he had. He just dropped,” the NFL Hall of Famer said.

Trainers and doctors from both teams, as well as a physician attending the game, tended to Hughes as he lay on the grass. My recollection is that Hughes was on the turf for about twenty minutes. Although Gary Dymski, who later became a journalist and who attended the game, said it was “ten or fifteen minutes” before an ambulance arrived.

In this ABC Detroit clip, Hughes’ nephew discusses Hamlin and the death of his uncle.

Unlike last week’s Bills-Bengals game, the Bears-Lions game continued, ending with a Chicago victory. Butkus recalled that there was no talk of cancelling the game. About ninety minutes later, Hughes was declared dead at Henry Ford Hospital. I was stunned when Hughes’ passing was announced as I watched a local news program.

The cause of Hughes’ death was a heart attack. After his autopsy it was discovered that his arteries were 75 percent blocked. Hughes had been treated at Henry Ford that summer, apparently, he had suffered a minor heart attack, but medical personnel attributed his chest pains to a spleen injury.

The next day at my elementary school, the Hughes death was what everyone was discussing. As well as a rumor that Butkus “killed” Hughes after a powerful hit. Not true. That night on the Chicago ABC Monday Night Football pregame show, one of the hosts, Detroit Lions legend Alex Karras, was nearly in tears as he reminisced about his former teammate. I was close to tears too.

Immediately after Hughes’ death, the NFL made it a league rule that there must be an ambulance at all games. Life-saving protocols have since been added by the NFL–each team is required to have an Emergency Action Plan, which was activated after Hamlin’s collapse. Generally, there are over two dozen doctors of various specialties at each NFL game. 

The EAP probably saved Hamlin’s life.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.