Judas Iscariot, really?

For all the good work Samaritan’s Purse does around the world, its leader, Reverend Franklin Graham, is prone to say very troubling things. He has indicted groups of people as well as supported causes politically. Ironically, his father Reverend Billy Graham swore off political statements and endorsements after some of his conversations with Richard Nixon (Nixon taped everything, which was his Waterloo) revealed Graham not pushing back on Nixon’s bigotry.

The younger Graham has not learned this lesson. Earlier this week, Franklin equated the ten Republican Congress people who voted to impeach the outgoing president with the traitorous actions of Judas Iscariot. Really? The following is a letter I forward to my newspaper. I also posted a variation on the Samarian’s Purse website, after I first complimented their work.

As an Independent and former Republican voter, as well as a Christian, I am appalled that Franklin Graham would compare the ten Republican congress people to Judas Iscariot for voting to impeach the outgoing president. He must read a different bible than I do, as I see ten people who showed political courage in the face of pushback and death threats to vote their conscience and remember their oath to the constitution.

What the two-time impeached president did last week was unforgivable, as five people died and he put his own followers in jeopardy. It builds on his planned and staged fraudulent claims of wide-spread voter fraud that he and his followers have been unable to prove in 59 out of 60 court cases and in several recounts. I applaud these ten Republicans and wonder why others did not join them.

The psychology of wealth can make you less compassionate – a reprise about an interesting study

After being reminded of this study in a comment on my last post, I decided to republish a post from 2013. I found it fascinating reading about the comparative psychology of the haves and have-nots.

This title may seem strange, but it is based on a study completed by the University of California at Berkeley and University of Toronto. The folks who scoff at this title and study authors would also be the ones who would say “what would you expect from a study done in UC-Berkeley.” Yet, the principal author Paul Piff, noted in the LA Times “I regularly hear the Berkeley idiot scientist who’s finding what they expect to find. Let me tell you, we didn’t expect to find this. Our findings apply to both liberals and conservatives. It doesn’t matter who you are. If you’re wealthy, you’re more likely to show these patterns of results.” Piff was interviewed along with Dr. Dacher Keltner on a PBS Newshour story by Paul Solman last month called “Exploring the Psychology of Wealth, ‘Pernicious’ Effects of Economic Inequality” which can be found with this link http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/business/jan-june13/makingsense_06-21.html.

The study concluded that people with wealth, whether it was real wealth or created in a game format, showed rather conclusively a higher propensity to have a sense of entitlement to get more than their fair share. It is not saying that every wealthy person would act this way and there are many exceptions, yet there was clear evidence to show a propensity to use their position to cut corners and gain further advantage. It also noted there tended to be a higher degree of compassion and fairness by those with less for others in similar or worse circumstances. In other words, it was harder for those who “have” to walk in the shoes of the “have-nots.”

I observe this often in trying to explain the needs of homeless or impoverished people. No matter how hard I try, there are audiences who can not be dissuaded from their pre-conceived notion that homeless or impoverished people are not deserving of help and that they should just get a job. This is one reason I always emphasize that 84% of the homeless families, an agency I work with helps, have jobs. We are also seeing it manifest in the United States with the increasing divide in wealth between those with and without and the decline in economic class mobility.

But, don’t take my word for it. I would encourage you to click on the link above and judge for yourself. The aforementioned study observed the following in multiple tests:

– At a four-way intersection, drivers of the priciest cars were 4 times more likely to fail to correctly yield the right of way than other drivers;

– In a waiting room with a jar of candy where the participants were all told the candy was being saved for a children’s meeting soon following, the wealthier participants took candy from the jar 2 times more frequently than non-wealthy participants;

– In a dice game to add up the results of dice rolls, with the person with largest dice tally winning $50, the wealthier participants were 4 times more likely to cheat; and

– Similar results were also found on other exercises around reporting of incorrect change to a small financial transaction or getting an incorrect grade on an exam when the participant knew they earned less. The wealthier participants reported the infraction in their favor fewer times.

The study went further to show the results of a weighted Monopoly game. One person would get to roll two dice to the other’s one, the same person would also get $2,000 to the other person’s $1,000 and get to use the car game piece to the other person’s lesser token. What the study observed, the person in the game who had the most money and best opportunity to win, used directive comments that showed a sense of entitlement to their success. When the study flipped the weighting, the person who in real life was less affluent, but who now had the upper hand in the game, would also exhibit some of the same traits of entitlement.

The troubling part of the study, is people with wealth, whether real or contrived, exhibited a sense of entitlement to their wealth. It is the same reason when I wrote a few months ago that Warren Buffett said he was also “lucky” to be as wealthy, it bothered people. He said he worked hard, but he was born a white male in America, which gave him a leg up. By the way, Buffett is definitely one of the exceptions to the rule about compassion.

Yet, there is hope. Dr. Keltner, who heads the Greater Good Science Center at UC-Berkeley noted: “One of the things that wealth and money does is it comes with a set of values, and if you want a deeper ideology, and one of them is, generosity is for suckers and greed is good. But it turns out, there are a lot of new data that show, if you’re generous, and charitable, and altruistic, you will live longer, you will feel more fulfilled, you will feel more expressive of who you are as a person. You probably will feel more control and freedom in your life.”

The above translates to business success, as well. In the highly acclaimed business book by Jim Collins called “Built to Last,” his team indicated that one of the reasons companies are much more successful than even their best competitors is called “Be more than profits.” These companies were terrific community citizens and invested their money and people’s time in needs of the community. As a result, people valued working there and the community was more supportive of the companies, in both good time and bad.

So, the key takeaways from this study to me are (1) do not let what you own define you, (2) do your best to understand what people in need go through – if you have not been there, you really don’t know what it’s like, (3) there is a huge psychic income to helping others and (4) doing the right thing can only be viewed in a good light. You will be on the “side of the angels.” Note, this post relied on several news articles in addition to the PBS Newshour piece mentioned above – LATimes,org, Dailycal.org and Highandernews.org.

Class matters, socio-economic class that is – a revisit to an old post that remains pertinent

The following post was written in 2012, but it still remains pertinent. When I hear people chastise people in poverty for not working their way out, I think of this topic.

When you read this title, there are several interpretations that come to mind. While I am a firm believer in acting in a classy way, treating others like you want to be treated, the “class” I am referring to here is socio-economic class. There is a body of work spawned by research conducted by the New York Times, which led to the publishing of a book under this same title – “Class Matters.” It also led to a revolution of thought and I would encourage you to visit “www.classmatters.org for more information.

In essence, the term class matters refers to the tenet that your socio-economic class is a key factor in your ability to ask questions of those who are trying to serve you. The higher strata of socio-economic class is highly correlated with better education and more confidence. This translates into the greater ability and lesser reluctance to question things. On the converse, those in lower socio-economic classes tend to have lesser education and more self-esteem issues. They have a greater inability and lack of confidence to question those in power or who are trying to serve them.  As a result, those in the lower classes often make poorly informed decisions as they are:

  • too scared to ask questions,
  • feel threatened if they do so,
  • feel they will show their ignorance if they do,
  • do not know the right questions to ask, and/or
  • fall into a trusting mode, whether legitimate or not, that the person serving them knows what they are doing as they are wearing a doctor’s coat or suit and tie.

To illustrate this concept using a real life occurrence, the current housing crisis we are facing has many areas of cause from the lenders to rating agencies to investment managers to developers to buyers. At the heart of the problem, we had too many developers and realtors selling houses to people who could not afford that price of house and mortgage lenders providing mortgages to people who should not have that level of mortgage or who did not fully understand the terms of the loan. The buyers did not understand what a variable mortgage is or, using one of the lender’s terms, what a “pick-a-payment” or flexible payment mortgage entailed. The concept of negative amortization is term that was not well-explained or fully understood. In “House of Cards” a line that resonates with me is lenders were providing money to people who could “fog a mirror.” Then, they packaged up all of these poor risks in collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) and sold them to investors who thought they were buying a less risky product. The rating agencies did not help by stamping these CDOs with a AAA rating.

There are some who firmly believe in the concept of “let the buyer beware.” In their minds, the people who bought these houses and took out these loans should have been more aware “like I would have been.”  As a consequence, they believe the buyers should be held entirely responsible for the housing crisis. This school of thought has some merit, but misses two greater issues. First, if you have ever bought a house, you are asked to sign more papers than in any other transaction. I would wager that an exceedingly high percentage of buyers do not read every word of what they are signing. The legalese is too complex. More often than  not, they will ask the attorneys to explain simply what they are signing. I would also wager that in these transactions people actually sign papers they do not fully understand.

Second, with that context, people in a lower socio-economic class will be even more trusting of those in suits and ties. They would ask even fewer questions and understand even less of what they are signing. When the American Dream is to own a home and people in suits and ties paint a picture that you can afford this home, the buyers believed them more times than they should have. In some cases, the seller put “perfume on a pig” to dress up the sale as best as possible. Individuals were shown monthly payment numbers and did not realize those numbers could dramatically change every two years. In some cases, their income and wealth numbers were inflated to show they could afford a house and mortgage they otherwise would not. The buyers trusted people showing these numbers and signed on the many dotted lines.

Two true stories will embellish these points. The poster child for one extreme end of what happened was a builder based in Atlanta. The CEO and CFO were convicted of criminal and unethical actions they helped perpetuate with home buyers. In essence, the company-realtors representing  new developments did not represent they would make an extra bonus if you bought in this new neighborhood. They did not represent the inspector was being paid off to inflate the price of the house and show no problems existed. They did not represent that the mortgage lender they recommended was affiliated with the developer. So, along comes the buyer who does not know this, does not know to ask these questions and who sees a financial representation that they can afford this house. Even people above the lower socio-economic classes were taken in by this criminal behavior, yet the lower class people did not stand a chance.

The other anecdote took down a bank of which I was shareholder. This bank bought  a mortgage bank who had developed the concept of the “pick-a-payment” mortgage. This flexible payment mortgage concept was geared for a very astute buyer, not the masses of people who bought it. Mortgage people at this bank wondered why the CEO of the acquirer was pushing these mortgages even up to six months before the bank was destined to fail.  A mortgage person for that bank said we are having “pick-a-payment parties” to promote the sale of these mortgages. We are selling these mortgages to people who do not know what they are buying. They do not understand when they do not pay enough, their mortgage principal increases. Like with the above example, the lower socio-economic class buyers did not stand a chance. The people in higher classes suffered as well.

Yet, the class matters concept goes beyond these examples. It happens in everyday life, whether it is visiting the doctor, buying a car or something on credit or being served by the bank on other issues. We have people who will go into debt as they do not know the exposure they are adding with each purchase. In today’s world, there is a dearth of customer service. You have to be the navigator of your own customer service experience. Many people do not realize this as the case and tend to delegate the responsibility to the customer service person. We don’t ask enough questions of doctors seeking alternative treatments or payment plans. We accept the terms of a store credit card without knowing that if we fail to make one of the 30-60-90 day payments, we will pay back interest to the point of sale. We do not understand that we need to pay more than the minimum credit card payment as it will take 30 years to pay off a washer and dryer purchase. We do not ask the question, do I really need yet another credit card? We do not realize we have the power to say “no.”

I tell my children “people want your money, so you need to understand that.” Sometimes, they want it by legitimate means. Sometimes they have enticing commercials which are too good to be true. And, sometimes they will try to steal it from you online or by lying to you in person. You have to guard against this. With this backdrop, someone in a  lower socio-economic class will not ask enough questions to be served. They will take that extra credit card that arrives in the mail. They will sign up for the 30-60-90 day store plan to get a 10% discount not knowing the full ramifications of the transaction. I have also witnessed in helping homeless families, budgeting skills could be improved and asking questions about “must have” purchases are not done often enough. Sometimes these “needs” are actually “wants” and could be postponed. They do not know how to zealously navigate the use of coupons or the best times to buy products. They do not ask for the manager or supervisor when being ill-served.

This week I read a series on the inability of hospitals to uniformly offer reduction or the abatement in cost to those without health insurance and in an impoverished state. Someone wrote in that they successfully navigated payment options from one of the studied hospitals asking why couldn’t others have done that. When I read the letter critical of the people short-changed, the concept of class matters entered into my head. The people in need did not navigate the system as they did not know or have the confidence to ask the right questions. They did not relentlessly pursue options. This is exacerbated by the lack of transparency of the payment system, so it takes a concerted effort to understand what is happening even for people in higher classes. There are other examples in our society where you have to make a concerted effort to understand the details.

In closing, my hope is for more people to understand that class matters in getting proper help and service. We have to make it easier for people to ask questions, search for answers and be better served or, at least avoid being ill-served. It is OK to ask questions. As the teachers often say “the only dumb question is the one not asked.”  Please help others remember that. Offer to go with someone to the doctor to help ask the right questions. Or, encourage people to write their questions down beforehand. Encourage people to not get into credit exposure beyond their means.  Share your wisdom of purchasing or not purchasing items. Sources like Consumer Reports, BBB , Angie’s List,  http://www.cars.com are vital tools, e.g. Yet, I guess the big take away is to not assume people are like you. You may have avoided stepping  in the hole, but you would have asked more questions. Not everyone will. Offer them your help and understanding.

If you still think the election was rigged…

The following email was sent to the distribution list of North Carolina State Senator Jeff Jackson, a Democrat. I have found Jackson to be a very reasonable voice in today’s times. This email is an exemplar of his approach.

“Last week I sent an email that bluntly stated:

‘The election was not rigged. The elected officials saying otherwise are being intentionally dishonest.’

And I got a lot of replies from people saying, “Are you SURE it wasn’t rigged? How do you know? Where’s the proof? I heard that it was, so maybe we should look into that.”

Ok, so let me double back for a minute.

If you honestly aren’t sure whether or not the election was rigged, the best way I know to address that is to provide a wide variety of sources on the subject.

So here are 44 sources – a number of them supporters of the president – for you to consider.

In my view, if you genuinely believe that the election may have been stolen, you owe it to yourself to at least check your beliefs against what you see below.

(And if, upon review, you determine that the evidence does not support a conclusion that the election was rigged, the next step would be to cast a skeptical eye toward the sources that repeatedly tried to convince you otherwise.)

‘But Jeff, why should I believe anything you say?’

Don’t. Check the sources.

‘But Jeff, these sources are all corrupt and lying and should be ignored!’

Ok – but just know that when people accuse you of believing a conspiracy theory, this is why.

It’s because – in the face of an immense number of fact checks, Republican judges, and Republican elected officials – you’re not willing to consider the possibility that you may have been misled.

That’s conspiracy theory territory, and you should just know that going in.

For everyone else, feel free to share this and let’s see if we can reach a few people. (If you’d prefer to share in article form, you can do that here.)

It might not work, but we should at least try.

– Sen. Jeff Jackson

*************************************

44 Sources


1. “Disputing Trump, Barr says no widespread election fraud” – AP
https://apnews.com/…/barr-no-widespread-election-fraud-b1f1…

2. “Trump’s claims of vote rigging are all wrong” – AP
https://apnews.com/…/election-2020-ap-fact-check-joe-biden-…

3. “First Statewide Audit of paper ballots in Georgia upholds results of Presidential race” – Georgia Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger (R)
https://sos.ga.gov/…/historic_first_statewide_audit_of_pape…

4. “There is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised.” – Elections Infrastructure Government Coordinating Council & The Election Infrastructure Sector Coordinating Executive Committees
https://www.cisa.gov/…/joint-statement-elections-infrastruc…

5.“The minimal number of criminal investigations that have so far come out of the November vote further reinforce the absence of sweeping vote fraud schemes.” – Washington Post
https://www.washingtonpost.com/…/bdbe541c-42de-11eb-b0e4-0f…

6. “In a remarkable show of near-unanimity across the nation’s judiciary, at least 86 judges — ranging from jurists serving at the lowest levels of state court systems to members of the United States Supreme Court — rejected at least one post-election lawsuit filed by Trump or his supporters.” – Washington Post
https://www.washingtonpost.com/…/e3a57224-3a72-11eb-98c4-25…

7. “It’s Official: The Election Was Secure” – Brennan Center for Justice
https://www.brennancenter.org/…/its-official-election-was-s…

8. “As former Republican Members of Congress who swore an oath to the Constitution, we believe the statements by President Trump alleging fraud in the election are efforts to undermine the legitimacy of the election and are unacceptable” – Letter from ***31 Former Republican Members of Congress***
https://thehill.com/…/525161-former-gop-lawmakers-call-on-t…

9. “To win, Mr. Trump must prove systemic fraud, with illegal votes in the tens of thousands. There is no evidence of that so far.” – Karl Rove, Wall Street Journal
https://www.wsj.com/…/this-election-result-wont-be-overturn…

10. “U.S. District Judge Matthew Brann — a Republican and Federalist Society member in central Pennsylvania — compared the campaign’s legal arguments to ‘Frankenstein’s Monster,’ concluding that Trump’s team offered only ‘speculative accusations,’ not proof of rampant corruption.” – AP News
https://apnews.com/…/election-2020-donald-trump-pennsylvani…

And you can read the case for yourself here: https://www.pamd.uscourts.gov/si…/pamd/files/20-2078_202.pdf

11. “A sitting president undermining our political process & questioning the legality of the voices of countless Americans without evidence is not only dangerous & wrong, it undermines the very foundation this nation was built upon. Every American should have his or her vote counted.” – Will Hurd (R), Representative of Texas’s 23rd District
https://thehill.com/…/524738-republicans-rebuke-trump-over-…

12. “STOP spreading debunked misinformation…This is getting insane” – Adam Kinzinger (R), Republican Representative of Illinois’s 16th District
https://twitter.com/RepKinzinger/status/1324503564891414528…

13. “The scheme by members of Congress to reject the certification of the presidential election makes a mockery of our system and who we are as Americans.” – Maryland Governor Larry Hogan (R)
https://www.chicagotribune.com/…/ct-republican-senators-ele…

14. Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) Shoots Down Trump Legal Team’s ‘Rigged Election’ Claims: “Absolutely Outrageous” – Fox News
https://radio.foxnews.com/…/sen-joni-ernst-r-ia-shoots-dow…/

15. “[The president] is wrong to say that the election was rigged, corrupt or stolen — doing so damages the cause of freedom here and around the world, weakens the institutions that lie at the foundation of the Republic, and recklessly inflames destruction and dangerous passions.” – Sen. Mitt Romney (R), Utah
https://twitter.com/MittRomney/status/1324763757105602561…

16. “President Trump’s legal team has not presented evidence of the massive fraud which would have had to be present to overturn the election. I voted for President Trump but Joe Biden won.” – Sen. Bill Cassidy (R), Louisiana
https://twitter.com/SenBillCass…/status/1331013512605405184…

17. “Republican Sen. Pat Toomey calls Trump’s campaign to overturn Pennsylvania election ‘completely unacceptable’” – The Philadelphia Inquirer
https://fusion.inquirer.com/…/pat-toomey-pennsylvania-elect…

18. “Nebraska Sen. Deb Fischer (R) says widespread voter fraud not proven in 2020 election” – KETV
https://www.ketv.com/…/i-will-uphold-my-oath-nebra…/35132772#

19. “Former GOP election law attorney says widespread voter fraud doesn’t exist” – Fox Denver
https://kdvr.com/…/former-gop-election-law-attorney-says-w…/

20. “There is not and has not been any credible evidence of significant fraud in the 2020 election” – Washington Post
https://www.washingtonpost.com/…/there-is-not-has-not-been…/

21. “Georgia election: Trump voter fraud claims and others fact-checked” – BBC
https://www.bbc.com/news/55561877

22. “Trump’s made-up claims of fake Georgia votes” – AP News
https://apnews.com/…/ap-fact-check-donald-trump-georgia-ele…

23. “Fact-checking Trump’s false claims about Pennsylvania’s election before his supporters attacked the Capitol” – The Philadelphia Inquirer
https://fusion.inquirer.com/…/trump-washington-rally-pennsy…

24. “Trump tweet wrongly suggests there were defects with Michigan voting machines” – Detroit Free Press
https://www.freep.com/…/trump-fact-check-defect…/3902951001/

25. “The Times Called Officials In Every State: No Evidence of Voter Fraud” – New York Times
https://www.nytimes.com/…/…/10/us/politics/voting-fraud.html

26. “A Georgia Election official debunked Trump’s claims of voter fraud point by point” – New York Times
https://www.nytimes.com/…/politics/trump-georgia-election-f…

27. “Pennsylvania pours cold water on Trump’s voter fraud claims” – The Guardian
https://www.theguardian.com/…/first-thing-pennsylvania-pour…

28. “Here’s the reality behind Trump’s claims about mail voting” – AP
https://apnews.com/…/virus-outbreak-joe-biden-election-2020…

29. “2020 election ‘most secure in American history,’ federal election security officials say” – Fox News
https://www.foxnews.com/…/2020-election-secure-history-fede…

30. “Presidential Election ‘Most Secure’ In History, Top Security Experts At DHS Say” – HuffPost
https://www.huffpost.com/…/2020-election-most-secure-dhs_n_…

31. “Fired director of U.S. cyber agency Chris Krebs explains why President Trump’s claims of election interference are false” – 60 Minutes, CBS
https://www.cbsnews.com/…/election-results-security-chris-…/

32. “Trump’s own officials say 2020 was America’s most secure election in history” – Vox
https://www.vox.com/…/2020-elections-most-secure-dhs-cisa-k…

33. “Governor Wolf, officials say Pennsylvania had a fair and secure election” – MSN
https://www.msn.com/…/governor-wolf-officials-s…/ar-BB1cwXYG

34. “No, Dominion voting machines did not delete Trump votes.” – New York Times
https://www.nytimes.com/…/no-dominion-voting-machines-did-n…

35. “Georgia officials rebutted Trump’s claim that Dominion voting machines failed in ‘Republican strongholds.’” – NYT
https://www.nytimes.com/…/05/us/polit…/dominion-georgia.html

36. “Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt (R) went on CNN and said the presidential election wasn’t ‘rigged’” – Springfield News Leader
https://www.news-leader.com/…/missouri-senator-…/3910497001/

37. “Sen. Cornyn (R) says he’s seen no evidence of voter fraud” – The Daily Sentinel
https://www.dailysentinel.com/…/article_c1250852-0687-5d3b-…

38. “No evidence shows Biden benefitted from voter fraud, South Dakota Senator John Thune (R) says” – Argus Leader
https://www.argusleader.com/…/thune-no-evidence…/6190130002/

39. Georgia official Raffensperger: “We had safe, secure, honest elections” – 60 Minutes, CBS News
https://www.cbsnews.com/…/georgia-official-raffensperger-w…/

40. “Fact-Checking the Congressional Debate on Ratifying the Election Results” – NYT
https://www.nytimes.com/…/fact-check-electoral-certification

41. Arizona Supreme Court upholds election challenge dismissal: “In all, eight lawsuits challenging Biden’s Arizona win have failed.”
https://apnews.com/…/election-2020-joe-biden-donald-trump-a…

42. Fact check: After hand count audits of the vast majority of the ballots in the state, no evidence for claims Arizona’s results were marred by fraud – NBC News https://www.nbcnews.com/…/electoral-college-ce…/ncrd1253058…

And you can see the hand count results for yourself here: https://azsos.gov/…/2020-general-election-hand-count-results

43. “Arizona’s GOP AG rejects voter fraud claims” – Axios
https://www.axios.com/arizona-republican-ag-rejects-voter-f…

44. From a presidential commission to Trump-nominated judges, here’s who has rebuked Trump’s voter fraud claims – Washington Post
https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/…/01/03/voter-fraud/

Dr. Fiona Hill cautions all on civil unrest fomented by the outgoing president

Dr. Fiona Hill is one of the most credible public servants who risked a great deal by testifying of her concerns regarding the coercion of Ukraine to benefit the president.* In an article called “Former Trump official Fiona Hill: ‘President’s actions have put us on the brink of civil war'” by Justine Coleman of The Hill, she cautions of more civil unrest. Here are a few paragraphs along with a link below.

Former Trump National Security Council member Fiona Hill on Monday said that President Trump’s ‘actions have put us on the brink of civil war’ after pro-Trump rioters stormed the Capitol last week.

Hill, who served as the senior director for European and Russian affairs on the National Security Council, called the Capitol raid a “coup” in a Politico op-ed, saying that a coup does not need to be a ‘sudden, violent seizure of power involving clandestine plots and military takeovers.

‘Trump disguised what he was doing by operating in plain sight, talking openly about his intent,’ she said. ‘He normalized his actions so people would accept them. I’ve been studying authoritarian regimes for three decades, and I know the signs of a coup when I see them.’

The former Trump official said Trump’s efforts to stay in power during his presidency amounted to a ‘self-coup’ that was ultimately unsuccessful. But she noted ‘the bad news is that his supporters still believe the false narrative’ that the president won reelection after he and other Republicans have promoted unfounded claims that widespread voter fraud led to his loss.

Trump has not repudiated it, nor have the House and Senate Republicans who voted against the Electoral College results, she wrote. ‘Millions of people still think the election was stolen. They still support Trump the person, not the Republican Party, and many are prepared to take further action on his behalf.

‘As in the case of other coup attempts, the president’s actions have put us on the brink of civil war,’ Hill continued. ‘Trump did not overturn the election results, but, just as he intended, he disrupted the peaceful democratic transition of executive power.’

Her voice is one of experience and reason. She needs to be listened to by all, but especially Republicans in position of leadership.

Former Trump official Fiona Hill: ‘President’s actions have put us on the brink of civil war’ (msn.com)

*Per Wikpedia, Fiona Hill is a British-American foreign affairs specialist and academic. She is a former official at the U.S. National Security Council specializing in Russian and European affairs. She was a witness in the November 2019 House hearings regarding the impeachment of President Trump. A PhD in history from Harvard University, she is currently a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington.

“Trial by combat” speech will haunt Rudy Giuliani – and it should

In a Newsweek article posted today called “Bar Association Launches Probe Into Disqualifying Rudy Giuliani After ‘Trial by Combat’ Speech” by Alexandra Garrett, Giuliani will be facing much needed scrutiny over his role in inciting violence last Wednesday. This follows his active role in pushing frivolous lawsuits and unsupported claims of voter fraud over the last two months.

Per the article, the following paragraphs will sum up the issues at hand. A link to the full article is below.

“The New York State Bar Association launched an inquiry into disqualifying Rudy Giuliani‘s membership on Monday. The probe from NYSBA President Scott M. Karson came after Giuliani’s ‘trial by combat’ speech was made hours before Wednesday’s deadly attack on the Capitol.

‘We must address the root cause of this abhorrent incident, the blame for which lies first and foremost with President Donald Trump,’ said Susan DeSantis, the NYSBA’s chief communications strategist, in a Monday release.

DeSantis added that ‘the president did not act alone’ and said that Giuliani, his personal attorney, addressed the crowd at the Stop the Steal rally hours before the riot and was also partly to blame.

During his speech, Giuliani reiterated baseless claims that widespread election fraud affected the outcome of the presidential election. He also said Trump supporters should fight the results.

‘Over the next 10 days, we get to see the machines that are crooked, the ballots that are fraudulent. If we’re wrong, we will be made fools of, but if we’re right a lot of them will go to jail,’ said Giuliani. ‘Let’s have trial by combat.'”

Shortly after these comments, the Capitol Building was stormed endangering many, including the domestic terrorists. And, now five people are dead, including a police officer. Make no mistake. The outgoing president lied to these people, invited them to Washington, revved them up and then “sicced” them onto the Capitol like attack dogs. It should be noted the Capitol included his supporters.

Giuliani is culpable as well. He has gone from being America’s Mayor after 9/11 to a punchline in a joke to criminal incitement. The fall has been both embarrassing as well as troubling. A lesson that is not heeded by more than a few, if you fly too close to the outgoing president, you will get burned.

To be frank, I think Giuliani should be arrested for his role. The outgoing president may be beyond arrest, but he needs to also be held accountable through removal or forced resignation.

Bar Association Launches Probe Into Disqualifying Rudy Giuliani After ‘Trial by Combat’ Speech (msn.com)

When people do not push back on a tyrant

When people do not push back on a tyrant, they should not be surprised when he does tyrannical things. Five people died Wednesday, but that was the culmination of four years of corrupt and deceitful behavior….and a fragile ego. The most ardent of fans of the tyrant were endangered by the tyrant’s instigation of violence. The legislators who supported the tyrant’s efforts were found quivering in the Capitol Building worried about their lives. If they stood up and said, “but, I am on your side,” they could have been killed or hurt.

It is easy for Republican legislators and leaders to be courageous now, but when it was needed was when honorable diplomats and inspectors general raised concerns at great risk, knowing they would be fired for so doing. Yet, they did it anyway. I watched honorable duty bound people like Dr. Fiona Hill and Ambassador William Taylor testify under oath, only to be grilled by the tyrant’s toadies, who should also have taken an oath to tell the truth.

Former Intelligence director John Bolton condemns Trump now, but he left diplomats hanging with their testimony as he remained silent about the Ukraine extortion issue. Bolden was quoted as being very critical of the Ukraine extortion issue, but screwed these diplomats with his silence. Other former cabinet members are emboldened to criticize the tyrant now, but did they do enough to protect America from his whims and deceitful behavior when at the time needed?

And, for those who still support this tyrant, they need to answer a lot of questions. Trump’s actions led to five deaths, but he endangered the lives of his fans and the legislators who supported him. There is a term for that – it is called sociopathic behavior. It may not be well-known, but narcissism is a subset of sociopathic behavior. It has not been a large leap for the tyrant to do sociopathic things as he did last February when he purposefully endangered his fans at pep rallies being silent on the COVID-19 risk.

Will the tyrant be removed from office before his term ends? I do not know. But, no one deserves to be removed more than this ego-maniacal, corrupt and deceitful person. With too many Republican leaders not speaking up, especially during his staged voter fraud claims, more than his ardent base believe his BS. Note to followers, he lost the election because he got fewer votes. And, in spite of the claims of conspiracy theorists, the tyrant has lost 59 out of 60 court cases and every recount. He cannot lose more than he has already.

Sadly, more Americans will get hurt with the emboldened shadow people. If you doubt this, some of the more extreme groups that support Trump are already speaking online of worse things to come. Make no mistake, the tyrant and his toadies have blood on their hands, I just pray it is not more.

Quirky traits or actions that add to a movie or television show

The movie “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” is a delightful film written by and starring Nia Vardolis. One of the charming recurring features of the story is her father, played by Michael Constantine, uses Windex to cure any physical problem. A funny moment is on the ride to the wedding reception, when she confides to her new husband, played by John Corbett, that she woke up with this big zit. He said he did too, but her father fixed it with Windex.

These little quirky traits make the movie a better window into real life characters. The trait may actually be a physical one, which can be even more endearing. In “Motherless Brooklyn,” starring and directed by Ed Norton, his detective role has Tourette’s Syndrome long before anyone knew to call it that. He would shout out uncontrollably things that popped into his head. It was done in great taste as part of the storyline and actually was a useful trait to endearing himself to people he wanted to interview.

There is a television series based out of Canada called “Coroner” starring Serinda Swan (not to be confused with a BBC show called “The Coroner”) as Dr. Jenny Cooper. Swan is recently widowed and moved her teenage son to take this job as a needed change. But, she suffers from PTSD and anxiety that we learn is due to her sister’s death as child. So, when her medications are not regulated, she has disabling attacks. To add further, she is a sleepwalker resulting from these issues.

Leaving the more serious traits aside, the most humorous quirky character contrived built on the skills of Don Knotts as Barney Fife in “The Andy Griffith Show.” The funniest example of Fife’s quirkiness is Andy would not trust him with a loaded gun, but Fife needed to have one. So, Andy let him carry an empty gun, with one bullet in his buttoned shirt pocket. So, the funniest scenes occurred when Fife had to go for his bullet when in perceived danger. The writers deserve a medal for that one.

Going back to the movies, our friend Hugh likes to bring up one of the best character actors around, Strother Martin. He appeared in two popular Paul Newman movies. In “Cool Hand Luke,” Martin played a corrupt warden in a southern prison where Newman was a detainee. But, the movie is accentuated with Martin’s great line after he would take action to quell an uprising from a rebellious prisoner. He would say “What we got here…is a failure to communicate.” Martin would use his drawl to elongate the words.

In the movie “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” with Newman and Robert Redford, Martin shows up late in the movie that had started to drag a little bit. When the bandits went to Bolivia to try to have regular jobs, they worked to guard a payroll under Martin’s management. Martin chewed tobacco and as he rode his horse, he would spit the excess juice out. You learn after several spits, he would say “Dammit” when the juice dribbled onto his chin and “Bingo” when he successful expelled the juice. He also called his two man crew “morons” when they were worried coming down the mountain. He said “we don’t have any money coming down the mountain.”

There are many quirky characters on television shows that I have written about before such as Abby Sciuto on “NCIS” played by Pauley Perrette and Penelope Garcia on “Criminal Minds” played by Kirsten Vangsness. But, the quirkiest character may have been the lead in “Monk” played by Tony Shalhoub. A former police detective, Adrian Monk suffers from intensified obsessive-compulsive disorder and a variety of phobias since the murder of his wife. Yet, his OCD helps him solve crimes given his attention to detail.

These folks are endearing or maddening dependent on the role or scene. I recognize fully I skipped over many other great examples. Let me know some of your favorite quirky characters and why.

How you leave a job is vitally important

As a former manager of people, I have observed extremely professional and unprofessional behavior. In exiting a company, I have seen people leave with dignity and class, even when they have been asked to leave with some downsizing, rightsizing or reduction-in-force. I have also seen people trash their company and not give much notice wanting the company to have problems in the transition, even when the person is pulling the rip cord to leave.

I have shared with my kids, their friends and children of my friends, how you leave a job is vitally important. Our business worlds can be small, so your reputation matters. Your name is your greatest asset. It can also be your worst liability. Your former co-workers see how you conducted yourself. Your new company also will get wind of it. So, what do you want them to hear?

Leaving a company with dignity and class is also common sensical. If your new job does not work out, you have left an avenue to return. If you trashed that place, not only do you not have such an avenue, you may have damaged a referral to yet a new job.

I have shared this story about a very talented consultant who gave us a three day notice. He was not very helpful on projects that he was working on, just giving us his notes and a quick summary. It was highly unprofessional and he wanted us to fail to serve his former clients well. It should be noted he tended to be a prima donna, so others had to acquiesce to him more so than the other way around. About three years later, he wanted to return to our firm, and was stunned to learn he was not welcome.

I mention all of the above given what has transpired over the last two months and, in particular, the last two days. If the outgoing president had handled his election loss with dignity and class. he could have assured his place to re-run again in 2024. He could have still asked for recounts and even pursued some litigation with evidence. But, he could have handled the process with class and seriousness of purpose.

Instead, he announced on election night that he had won and proceeded with a narrative the election was being stolen from, an action he had staged and planned for six months. Sadly, he continued this false claim even as the evidence mounted against him and people who took their jobs seriously said he lost time and again.. Now, with the actions of his extreme followers which he wound up, invited and encouraged, he put people in danger and four have died.

How you leave a place is vitally important. Burning it all down is unprofessional and dangerous. And, the outgoing president has no one else to blame but the person in the mirror who looks back when he shaves. People do not emulate this behavior.

Stick a fork in him, he is done as a future candidate

It broke my heart to see how low this outgoing president brought us, but democracy held serve. Yesterday was so over the top it will go down in infamy, but it also will be the day the political career of Donald J. Trump ended. He will retain his ardent supporters and I worry about what could happen, but the many Republican legislators who kept their disdain for him silent to garner votes have jumped ship or are about to. (See the link below to an article in The Washington Post today)

In a huge turn of events, outgoing Senator Kelly Loeffler, who lost her campaign on Tuesday, said the following (as reported in the article below) as she changed her mind.

“’When I arrived in Washington this morning, I fully intended to object to the certification of the electoral votes,’ said Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.), who had just lost her election in a runoff. ‘However, the events that have transpired today have forced me to reconsider. And I cannot now in good conscience object to the certification of these electors.’”

Just last night, several Trump staff resigned at the events of the day, Mick Mulvaney, the special envoy to Northern Ireland and former Chief of Staff, being just one of them. What happened yesterday is on the shoulders of the outgoing president and his sycophants. Trumpism will remain a danger to contend with, but you can stick a fork in its namesake as a future candidate. He is done. 

Probably the most blatant signs come from the outgoing vice president, Mike Pence. Senator James Inhofe (R) was reported to say that Pence was furious with Trump and the position Trump put him in. And, when Pence followed his allegiance to the constitution and denied to do something Trump wanted him to try, the petulant outgoing president went into full scale tear down mode of Pence.

Yet, what is starting to get reported is it was Pence who called out the National Guard, not the outgoing president. It was Pence whom the National Guard leaders coordinated with. And, what is also being reported is the Cabinet has started some discussions on invoking the 25th Amendment and removing Trump from office.

Now, Trump has said he will transition the baton peacefully, but that is his stance this morning. He is Donald Trump, so there is no limbo bar too low for him to ooze his corrupt and deceitful behavior underneath it. And, as noted above, Trumpism is not dead. So, riled up people could do riled up things. Trump will continue to spread his rhetoric, which is a nice word for lying, after he leaves office. Yet, his future as a candidate is done. Stick a fork in him. And, it is his own fault, along with his sycophants.

‘Enough is enough’: A slew of Trump’s GOP allies finally hit their limit (msn.com)