Key GOP donor backs Dem after House Republican ousted over Trump impeachment

In an article in Politico called “Key GOP donor backs Dem after House Republican ousted over Trump impeachment” by Natalie Fertig, a “former Romney financier David Nierenberg says he is siding with moderation over far-right rhetoric in Washington State.”

Republican Joe Kent, left, and Democrat Marie Gluesenkamp Perez stand in a room in front of a white wall and door.

A few key paragraphs are noted below. A link to the full article can be found at the end of the post.

“David Nierenberg has funded a lot of Republican candidates over the years. But when GOP Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler lost her primary in August, he switched sides to fund Democrat Marie Gluesenkamp Perez over the Trump-backed Republican who advanced to the general election.

‘I immediately went to work,’ Nierenberg said. ‘And I think I’ve now transformed myself from Jaime’s largest bundler to Marie’s.

Gluesenkamp Perez’s campaign team confirmed Nierenberg has raised over $100,000 for her campaign from his network of moderate Republican donors since the August primary. But the money is only part of the story in a district that has been center stage in the fight for moderate Republican voters — and for the future of the GOP — since Herrera Beutler’s votein 2021 to impeach Donald Trump over the Jan. 6 Capitol riot earned her a primary challenge from Republican Joe Kent….

Most of his big money donations in the last decade have gone to Republicans, but Nierenberg says he’s generally looking for candidates willing to work across the aisle — a breed of politician that voters are choosing in rapidly declining numbers.

I want Republicans in leadership positions in the party to see this. Not only has the GOP leadership embraced the unenviable requirement to believe The Big Lie and sow it seeds, they must also join in the petulant stance of destroying those who dared to speak the truth against the former president.

Quite simply, any governing body that punishes its truth tellers and exposing them and their family to threats of violence while aggrandizing its liars is not a party who has veritas and gravitas. How can someone take this party seriously if they let this kind of stuff happen? Again, just this weekend, the former president put a target on Senator Mitch McConnell’s back and made a racist remark against McConnell’s Asian-American wife, who just happened to be in Trump’s cabinet.

This is not just being “rough around the edges” as the former president’s sycophants like to say. On top of his many other attributes that are unbecoming of a president, much less a decent human being, putting people in danger and making denigrating racist comments is the simply the former president acting like a class A jerk. People who support him would not teach their kids to act like the former president does on a routine basis. They would not tolerate it. So, why should we not call it out?

I saw where the Mr. Pillow guy lost his appeal to avoid the continuance of the defamation lawsuit against him by Dominion Voting Systems. He is in a long line of people who flew to close to the Trump sun and got sucked in by its gravitational pull and are now suffering the consequences. I have long said the happiest people in America in 2016-17 were folks who declined Trump’s offer to work for him. The second happiest were their spouses.

I applaud Mr. Nierenberg for his funding a non-extreme candidate. We need more civil discourse, not less. We need more people to act the opposite way the former president acts. We need leaders who can disagree without taking someone’s head off.

https://www.politico.com/news/2022/10/03/gop-donor-backing-democrat-washington-00060099

Monday meanderings – October 3, 2022

I hope you had a great weekend and stayed safe. Ours was a little soggy here with the remnants of Ian.  Here are just a few meanderings on this October Monday morning.

A letter to the editor from a self-professed MAGA Republican noted how he hated RINOs and liked GOP Congressman Madison Cawthorn because he spoke his mind. It should be noted Cawthorn lost his primary in the spring. I am all for speaking one’s mind, but you need to have something of value to say. Like his peers Marjorie Taylor Greene, Lauren Boebert, etc. his problem is saying stuff that is simply not true. If people want to be taken seriously, they need to be serious-minded. The truth would help.

Per an article in Rawstory called “Unhinged, deranged Trump may be a danger to himself and others: GOP Strategist” “During an appearance on CNN’s ‘State of the Union,’ Republican Party campaign consultant Scott Lennings launched a brutal attack on Donald Trump over his threatening social media post that claimed Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has, as Trump put it, a ‘DEATH WISH.’ During the panel discussion on Sunday morning, Jennings, who is close to McConnell, claimed if you heard someone like the former president rant like that on the street, you’d call the authorities at 911 before they hurt someone. Asked about the Truth Social attack, Jennings replied, ‘It’s hard to know where to start, with the assassination instructions or the blatant racism.'”

In AP article called “Brazil’s Bolsonaro and the right outperform, defying polls,” “Jair Bolsonaro considerably outperformed expectations in Brazil’s presidential election, proving that the far-right wave he rode to the presidency remains a force and providing the world with yet another example of polls missing the mark. The most-trusted opinion polls had indicated leftist former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva was far out front, and potentially even clinching a first-round victory. One prominent pre-election poll gave da Silva a 14 percentage point lead. In the end, Bolsonaro surprised to the upside and came within just 5 points. He will face da Silva in a high-stakes Oct. 30 presidential runoff.”

Between what happened in Italy and what is happening in the UK, I am not seeing a lot of evidence of good governance from the more extreme right politicians. In Australia during the summer, conservatives where swept out of office due to climate change inaction and not addressing paid time off and women’s rights issues. In the UK, Liz Truss may be one of the shortest tenured Prime Ministers after a series of very poor decisions and poor communications.

Bolsonaro is the Southern Hemisphere’s version of the former US president and that is not meant as a compliment. His modus operandi of bullying, lying and denigration would make Trump proud. Regardless of politics, in my view, no truly elected official should act in this manner. They serve the people, not the other way around. And, they certainly don’t threaten people and sic their more strident allies on the targets.

Trump will be indicted. The GOP should cut him loose (Charlotte Observer editorial)

An interesting editorial by Gene Nichol*, a law professor at the University of North Carolina, called “Trump will be indicted. The GOP should cut him loose now” is a must read. Here are a few paragraphs, with a link to the full piece below.

“The handwriting is now, at the least, on the wall. I know a lot of Tar Heels don’t want to hear this — but Donald Trump is, in the months ahead, going to be indicted. His lawbreaking is so habitual, so overt, so pervasive, so foundational, and so rule-of-law decimating, that it simply won’t be possible for the Department of Justice and law enforcement officials in Georgia and, likely, New York, to ignore it. Perhaps Trump couldn’t help himself. Maybe it’s like his lying — a lifelong, all-consuming practice. He can’t shake it. Or even try. Old dog. Old tricks. He’s the don, not just The Donald.

And when the indictments come, what’s going to happen? Sadly, we know this too. Trump has opened his mind, or at least his mouth. He told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt that ‘the people of the United States won’t stand for it.’ Filing charges against him would lead to ‘problems in this country, the likes of which we’ve never seen before.’…

Perhaps you think I overstate the peril. (I get that sometimes.) But do these various folks described above actually think that the other 60% or so of Americans will simply cower in the corner, surrendering their human rights and our nation’s long-declared meaning, because the MAGA coalition may be fueled by hatred and replete with arms? I wouldn’t bet on it.

There’s a lot more courage and commitment out here in the rest of the land than the Trumpists imagine. They make the same mistake Putin made about Ukraine. Democracy has its steel. Even if it’s hard to arouse. Won’t it be easier, even if unnerving, for the Republican Party to turn Trump loose now, than it will be after he again summons the gun thugs?

As the niece of the losing former president said after the 2020 election result was finalized, “her uncle will burn it all down to avoid losing the election.” Yes, his ego is that shallow that he cannot admit defeat. He was told by attorney Roy Cohn, his mentor per his many biographies, “to never apologize and sue everyone.” Doing the math, I calculated that Trump averaged 1 1/2 lawsuits per week during his business career before the 2016 election.

To be frank, telling the truth is not top of mind when thinking to define the losing former president. Nor is playing fair, treating people with dignity and grace, or consistently acting in a legal manner. As Michael Cohen, his attorney and longtime fixer of all his problems, said under oath, “Donald Trump is a racist, he is a con-artist and he is a cheat.” It interested me that Cohen had sent out over 500 cease and desist letters to people and institutions threatening them into silence on any known Trump transgression.

Whether he is actually charged beyond the financial fraud civil charges for his company in New York, which the Attorney General refused to settle as she has a good case, remains to be seen. But, in my opinion, he needs to be.

Beyond his untruthfulness and bullying, the losing former president appears to be guilty of the alleged seditious actions against the United States. He appears to be guilty of allegedly taking classified documents, exposing secrets to foreign adversaries (note a Chinese national with cyberware in her possession was arrested at Mar-a-Lago a couple of years ago). And, he may be charged for election tampering in the State of Georgia.

At the barest of minimums, our country is more at odds with itself because we have a former president who is not man enough to admit he lost an election. I am very tired of his sycophants perpetuating this Big Lie. It is noted the wife of SCOTUS member Clarence Thomas testified to the January 6 House Select Committee and still voiced the Big Lie. The House members defined her testimony as “deranged.”

Folks, quite simply, whether Donald Trump can win in 2024 is beside the point. We were dumb enough as a country to elect him in 2016 and we are dumb enough to do it again. But, what we need to understand is he should not serve as president as we should not have a traitor at the helm. Because if a traitor leads us, all bets are off.

*Note: Contributing columnist Gene Nichol is the Boyd Tinsley Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of North Carolina.

Read more at: https://www.charlotteobserver.com/opinion/article266413511.html#storylink=cpy

Truth be told

The following is another letter I forwarded to a few newspapers. Let’s see if one will print it. Please feel free to adapt and use.

As a former Republican and now independent voter, it saddens me that to be a legitimate Republican, one has to endorse untruthful pronouncements by the losing former president and his sycophants. I don’t mind people espousing conservative ideas, but I do expect them to be truthful. Governing is hard enough when using facts, but nigh impossible when making decisions off lies.

Truth be told, I expected this behavior from the former president as that has long been his modus operandi, but what I am frustrated by is his sycophants who perpetuate untruths, even when they know they are lies. The former president lost the election and cannot prove otherwise even after spending a lot of other people’s money to do so. He also instigated an insurrection against Congress putting people in danger. And, that does not include his mishandling of classified information and alleged financial fraud at his company.

We deserve better than those who are purposefully lying to us, regardless of party. Full stop.

Trump Family Fraud Charges

Let’s keep this simple.

The news out of New York regarding the civil fraud case against the Trump family and organization should not be a surprise as these folks have been investigating the Trumps for three years. While this is a civil action with severe financial consequences, the case has also been referred to the US Attorney General for possible criminal action.

For those who cannot believe the Trumps would do such things, they should look at the fraud case he settled before the 2020 election where the former president agreed to repay the Trump Foundation for about $1.6 million Trump used for personal benefit. The Foundation was then terminated and the funds were distributed to charities with no one named Trump allowed to be part of the oversight process. To add insult to injury, the Trump children on the Board of Trustees had to undergo philanthropic training.

So, the current charges are in keeping with previous precedent. It should also be noted the New York Attorney General, Letitia James, stiff-armed forays by the former president to settle the case beforehand. Why? Her team of prosecutors must have a very good case.

Sucking the oxygen out of the room

I have written often about relevant issues not getting discussed as certain politicians and sloppy reporters and opinion people would rather discuss sensationalized and exaggerated issues, which may not be that big of a deal to begin with. Or, worse, the party complaining the most chose not to act to leave an issue open to blame the other side for its failure to address it. This last step is happening too often for my tastes. It truly sucks the oxygen out of the room.

When Donald Trump used “build that wall” as his bumper sticker theme in 2016, immigration was a problem, but down on the list of issues causing disenfranchisement in people in run-down areas. The two main culprits of companies chasing cheaper labor and technological advancements would not fit on a bumper sticker. Plus, it is hard to fear a robot like you can an illegal alien brought in as cheap labor in some industries. But, it should be noted when his bluff was called on his number one issue and Senators Dick Durbin and Lindsey Graham got him to agree on a wall funding for DACA being made law, he reneged on his promise in a matter of a few hours as not solving immigration was better as a campaign issue.

Right now instead of discussing more our US and global water crisis, our poverty and hunger problems, the threats to our civil rights and democracy, the need to further stabilize health care costs and access, the continuing threats to inflation and climate change, etc., we spend far too much time speaking about things that are not really problems based on some variation of “fear the other” as a threat. When I see “fear the other” issues being bandied about, I just move on as these are purposeful wedge issues to garner votes.

We just passed a good, but imperfect Inflation Reduction Act that included elements to reduce the deficit with increased taxes on the wealthy, help with renewable energy investment and stabilizing health care premiums continuing what happened with the pandemic funding. Although Republican led states will benefit from this, no Republican voted for it. If a party is going to complain about inflation, why did no one vote for it? No legislation is perfect, but no one, even when your state benefits?

Democrats have just done a similar ploy delaying a vote of the marriage equality act until after the election. It is arguable that it could not have passed, but the Democrats feel some lame duck moderate Republicans will be more inclined to vote in favor after the mid-terms. Yet, the bill had support and some momentum. Some Republicans in tough campaigns wanted to vote for it.

Politics has become a new sport with a zero-sum mindset – I must win and you must lose. We even have folks who taunt the other side. In this construct, the people who lose are the voters and citizens of our country and other countries. When the US fails to be a responsible global partner and citizen, then the rest of the world thinks less of us. Botching our pandemic response showed that the US cannot effectively deal with a major issue. The January 6 insurrection showed that even the US can look like a Banana Republic. The unproven bogus election fraud claims planned and touted by the losing former president, made us look like an autocratic country pretending to look like a democracy.

We must strive toward our better angels and civilly discuss our problems truthfully and factually. If any leader from any party cannot do this, then he or she needs to resign. And, we certainly do not need them running for office. Full stop.

When real people are used as pawns

Three governors of states have decided to play with people’s lives in an overt way to win some delusional wedge issue to garner votes. These governors have decided to transport migrants and refugees from Venezuela and other places to Democrat majority cities for them to deal with the problem. Our friend Jill has a good piece on the subject which I will link to below.

Here a few thoughts that share how I feel about stepping on the neck of the disenfranchised:

If grandstanding were an Olympic sport, these three prone-to-exaggerating governors would vie for the Gold. If bullying the disenfranchised were a Commandment, these three prone-to-condescending governors would be very pious. If letting your dog go in your neighbors yard without clean-up was a character trait, then these prone-to-screwing-people governors would be honorable..

The migrant stunt is just poor form, but not outside of these three governors’ modus operandi. I did read the migrant stunt is not playing well with Latino Americans in South Florida, nor should it. People need to recognize when folks are grandstanding, bullying and screwing people like these governors often do. 

With that said, I am all for healthy and civil debate on how to help and deal with the influx of people from other places. Ironically, before he turn and ran from his greatest legislative achievement, Senator Marco Rubio (of that very same South Florida) was part of a gang of eight Senators who helped pass a pretty good immigration bill in 2013. The Speaker of the House chose not to bring it to a vote, although it would have passed, because Republicans felt it was a better election issue if left unpassed. This is the same reason the last former president was talked out of his wall funding for DACA deal the same day he agreed to it.

Working together should not be as hard as the elected officials have made it. My strong advice is stop the grandstanding and get in a room and work things out. Truth telling and civility would be helpful.

Friday follies and fumbles

Happy Friday all. The mornings have been surprisingly cool these last few days of summer here in the northern hemisphere in the US south. We are ending a work week which has several notable follies and fumbles.

At the top of the list is the surprise of many Russians as their troops are hightailing it out of northeastern Ukraine. But, Mr. Putin, but you said we were winning? I think the news brought a smile to many Ukrainians and non-Russians beyond the borders of Ukraine.

Unfortunately, Prince Andrew came out of hiding to pay respects to his mother. It is unfortunate as it brought to the front pages the reactions of his and other Epstein/ Maxwell victims. Mind you a son should be able to grieve his mother, but it is sad that he did what he did to dishonor his position and harm his relationship with her the last few years.

It also saddens me that two famous womanizing ex-presidents had a relationship with Mr. Epstein. I am not saying anything happened, but there is evidence that Messers. Clinton and Trump knew Mr. Epstein. What also saddens me is how easily Trump’s presidential career could have ended before it started if Mike Pence had not rescinded his resignation from the team after the famous “locker room talk” recorded where his running mate bragged on grabbing women by the private parts in public just because he could. Trump survived by painting Hillary Clinton with her husband’s indiscretions. How that worked is beyond me.*

In the southern hemisphere, “Brazil’s presidential hopeful Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva leads incumbent Jair Bolsonaro by 12 points, a Thursday poll showed, while the far-right leader seeking reelection has lost the pace against his leftist rival’s edge ahead of the Oct. 2 vote.” Now, Bolsonaro has already made Trump like statements about the pending election (as his counterpart did before his 2020 election), so take it to the bank – if he loses, Bolsonaro will pull a Trump and call foul.

Finally, Florida governor Ron De Santis is bussing migrants to Democratic majority cities to make it their problem. It should be noted punishing your neighbors is not the wisest of strategies, but these kind of bullying antics are not unusual for DeSantis dating back to when he was a Congressman. I would not be surprised if the governors of these states retaliated as it is obvious shaming DeSantis does not work. An expected retaliation would be to deny state workers reimbursement for any business travel and to suggest conventions be held elsewhere. Nothing in this paragraph should be construed as being helpful to American citizens and is playing up yet another wedge issue.

On the flip side, kudos should be offered to the Biden administration for their role in garnering a deal between the unions and Amtrak. A rail strike helps no one and harms many. Well done for getting it done to all concerned.

*Note: I have been in many locker rooms in my career as an amateur athlete and I must state that I have never heard talk like Mr. Trump said in a locker room. I especially never heard it in a locker room where businessmen were dressing before or after golfing which is the only locker room I could envision him being in. In fact, if I heard someone bragging on grabbing women by the private parts, it would not sit very well with me as that is bragging on sexual assault.

A four-year old post showed clean energy progress is happening

The passage of the Inflation Reduction Act which includes very significant renewable energy funding is a huge step forward. Even Republican legislators who were told not to vote for it, are silently celebrating the needed investment in their states that will be forthcoming.

Four years ago, I wrote the following post which sheds progress at the same time the former president was pulling the US away from the adult table on fighting climate change. President Joe Biden has gotten us back to that table and helped pass the Inflation Reduction Act. Please note the invasion of Ukraine by Russia has caused some hiccups to the progress with Russia punishing its critics with fossil-fuel restrictions, but the progress continues.

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

“Global citizens are rightfully concerned the US President Donald Trump is pulling the US out of the Paris Climate Change Accord, but progress continues as “we are passed the tipping point on renewable energy.” Even the US pullout cannot stop the train, as states, cities, businesses and other countries continue the push. It just means the President and his team will not be at the adult table on this issue and may not be invited at all.

Here are a few miscellaneous energy tidbits that should offer encouragement.

Per the UK Based organization Carbon Tracker, here are a few highlights from the past year:

  • more than 1/2 of the US coal plants in existence in 2010 have been closed;
  • more than 1/2 of the remaining coal plants in Europe are losing money;
  • the UK has slashed electricity from coal usage from 40% to 2% in the last five years; and
  • there have been big strides in China and Australia on reducing coal usage.

Per the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the five member, Republican dominated agency denied the request by Department of Energy Secretary Rick Perry to fund the building of more coal-fired and nuclear plants. This was a surprise move given the make-up of the committee. I would call this decision as not wanting to throw good money after bad.

It should be noted, it is not just coal that is giving the FERC commissioners pause. The US division of Westinghouse Electric Company had to declare bankruptcy for cost overruns on a new nuclear power plant for SCANA, the South Carolina utility. As a result, the new plant is being shuttered and SCANA is being sold to Dominion Resources, so as not to overburden SC citizens with the cost of the lost investment.

The International Energy Agency in their 2017 Energy Outlook notes the cost of new solar photovoltaic electricity has declined by 70% and wind energy has fallen 25% since 2010. It should be noted the IEA has tended to favor fossil fuel energy in past releases. China, the new country leader in the climate change fight, will be investing US$360 billion more in renewable energy by 2020. Plus, the price of solar has fallen so much in places like Zambia, Saudi Arabia and Mexico, it has won bidding contests against fossil fuel energy sources for projects.

Finally, any discussion on future energy cannot exclude the declining cost and increasing capacity in battery storage. Per Bloomberg New Energy Financials, energy storage will double six times between 2016 and 2030. Elon Musk just helped southern Australia go live with a major battery installation and 21 states in the US have planned projects on energy storage.

All of the above stories are important because it has always been a financial argument to combat the environmental concerns, whose long term costs have been undervalued. Now, the financials are favoring the renewable energy engine, so market forces will continue to force the ultimate demise of coal-fired energy, which started with the lower cost of natural gas. If a company can find a clean energy source which is cheaper and more predictable long term, that is easily the better path forward. If you don’t believe me, just ask companies like Google, Facebook, Walmart and IKEA to name only a few.”

Rural Virginia pivots from coal to green jobs

An article by Nina Lakhani in The Guardian this weekend called “‘This is the future’: rural Virginia pivots from coal to green jobs,” is a must read, especially for those who still want to cling to a declining industry. The article can be linked to below. Here are a few salient paragraphs that will give you the gist.

“When Mason Taylor enrolled at the local vocational school with dreams of becoming an electrician like his dad, it was assumed that the ninth-grader would eventually end up moving away from Wise county, Virginia, to find a decent job.

Now 19, Taylor just bought a truck after a summer apprenticing with a crew of electricians installing rooftop solar systems at public schools in the county. He was among a dozen or so rookies paid $17 an hour, plus tools and a travel stipend, as part of the state’s first solar energy youth apprenticeship scheme.

The region’s long-awaited energy and economic transition will be substantially boosted by America’s first climate legislation, the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).

It’s far from a panacea, but Joe Biden’s legislation provides $369bn for the transition to electric vehicles and renewable energy – a historic investment that scientists estimate will reduce greenhouse gases by 40% below 2005 levels by 2030 and ​​create an estimated 1.5m new jobs.

Decent well-paid jobs are desperately needed. In Virginia, coal production has declined by 70% since its peak in 1990, and much of what’s left is semi-automated. Those old jobs are largely gone and are not coming back.

The IRA provides ring-fenced money for training, innovation and manufacturing, as well as an array of tax breaks and other financial incentives to help consumers and businesses transition away from fossil fuels. And Joe Manchin, the conservative Democrat senator from West Virginia played a pivotal role in watering down – and then reviving – the legislation, directing billions of dollars to the economic revival of depressed coal towns.

‘It’s a game changer for rural and coal communities,’ said Autumn Long, a project manager for solar financing and manufacturing workforce development at the non-profit Appalachian Voices. ‘Renewables are a way to honour the region’s energy-producing legacy and be part of the 21st-century global energy transition. The IRA is a turning point.‘”

In my view, these efforts are about ten years overdue. I have been writing for several years now of the demise in coal jobs in our country as contrasted to the uptick in solar and wind jobs. If I knew of the demise, the elected officials in these coal states have had to have known. This would include the Senate Minority leader who hails from Kentucky, one of those coal states. The sun has always shined and the wind has always blown in those states.

Yet, they did nothing. They were paid campaign funds by coal manufacturers to do nothing and perpetuate the status quo. Whether people like him or not, the only 2016 presidential candidate who told coal miners the truth – in person – was Senator Bernie Sanders, who said your jobs are going away, but here is what I plan to do about it.

Now, at long last, more is being done about it. Solar and wind energy are now on par or better in production costs with coal energy. And, when you factor in the environmental, maintenance, trucking, and litigation costs, the two renewables beat the pants off coal. It makes little sense to build a new coal plant which will become obsolete before it is finished.

So, this new law is good news and we should give credit to this Congress and President for getting it done. It is better late than never, but let’s hope it is not too late.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/sep/08/rural-virginia-pivots-from-coal-solar-green-jobs