Cassidy Hutchinson – testimony exudes courage and honor

It was a privilege to see a public servant like Cassidy Hutchinson show political courage and honor her oath to the constitution. Her difficult testimony to the House select committee needs to be both commended and heeded. As former Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney said he knows Hutchinson and believes her. In contrast, people who know Mark Meadows and Donald Trump don’t believe them. Their history does not warrant such trust.

Her testimony and that of others through emails and texts on January 6, 2021, paints a “disgusting” picture of the former president’s seditious and deceitful actions leading up to the insurrection on a branch of government. Also, he showed little regard for the folks he endangered. Trump claims Mike Pence is a “wimp” and deserved be hanged shows a disturbing lack of character of the former president.

It will not surprise me if the former president and his allies are charged with seditious actions. He cannot blame anyone but himself for his actions.

*Note: The following article by Rex Huppke in The USA Today entitled “Cassidy Hutchinson puts her former boss and assorted Trump-supporting cowards to shame” is worth a quick read. This quote struck me:

“But until those calling Hutchinson a liar do what she did – testify under oath before a congressional committee – their words hold the combined worth of Trump Steaks, Trump Vodka, Trump Airlines and Trump University.

Republican icon Senator Alan Simpson urges Trump to ‘stop the squeal’

In a Mediate article this week entitled “Wyoming GOP Icon Rips Into ‘Spoiled Brat Trump,’ Urges Him to ‘Stop the Squeal’ After Taping Ad For Liz Cheney,” the headline tells you as much as you need to know. In a MSNBC headline called “This former Republican senator just called Donald Trump a ‘spoiled brat'” the following is noted in the first few paragraphs:

“Former Wyoming Sen. Alan Simpson isn’t a big Donald Trump fan.

In an interview with NBC News, Simpson called Trump, among other things, a ‘spoiled brat’ and said that ‘this guy is so full of himself that he would overturn every kind of rule of law or Constitutional process because of his own ego, which is twisted.’

Simpson, a Republican, acknowledged that he voted for Trump in 2016 but noted that ‘I’ll never vote for him again – that’s for goddamn sure.'”

This is the kind of push back the Republican party should have been giving Donald Trump all along. It is sad that this former president instigated a seditious act on a branch of government and his Big Lie and other lies have further divided our country. We need more folks like Simpson in the GOP and government and less of those like the former president. Maybe we could get back to more normalcy.

Please note, I hold Simpson in high regard. His opinion matters, at least to me. He collaborated with Democrat Erskine Bowles to lead the Simpson-Bowles Deficit Reduction Committee formed by President Barack Obama. Their ideas had merit and should have been given more consideration than they were. Now, the debt and deficit is far worse.

I mention this example as what Simpson-Bowles did is what we need more of in Congress and country. People coming together to solve problems. This tribal BS we have in our country serves no one if problems do not get addressed or, worse, problems are created.

Strong suggestion for Democrats

I have a strong suggestion for Democrats who are not happy with the Roe v Wade verdict, watered down gun governance and restrictions on civil rights and are fearful of climate change inaction, environmental degradation and health care attacks, they need to vote. Know the rules that have been altered to keep you from voting and get out and vote. You could throw a few million people marches to get their attention as well.

There is a canary in the coal mine that is saying more voters are switching to the GOP (I read 1+ million), including the suburban educated women voters. To me, this tells me that people are listening to messaging coming out of more conservative channels that rakes Dems over the coals. I am not saying that messaging is correct, but people are listening to it.

Dems better crystalize key talking points that will appeal to all Americans and hammer them home. If they appeal to only progressive Dems, they will need to look up what happened to George McGovern in 1972. Watergate was in part related to Nixon wanting to run against McGovern and not Edmund Muskie. He knew he could beat McGovern but knew Muskie would be a tougher challenge. He ran against McGovern and won 49 states to 1.

Note, I am not saying progressive ideas are not good, but they need to be ideas that are saleable to all Americans and not offensive because of poor word choice. For example, “Defund the police” may have not meant exactly what it said, but the term was a gift to Republicans. My old party is bereft of good ideas in my view which is one reason conservative pundit Michael Gerson says the GOP is in “decay.” But, the GOP spin doctors do a better job, aided and abetted by Fox News, QAnon, and Infowars, et al, to focus on over-exaggerated issues where a label can be slapped on it and a bumper sticker created.

And, Dems please note, they are winning at this and expect to take the House and Senate majority. I have said before we need a viable Republican party, but this is not it. The best way to rid the country of this extreme party is not to vote for them.

Monday, Monday – a few this and that(s)

Since our friend Jill recently posted “California Dreaming” by the Mamas and Papas, let me use the title of another one of their songs to begin the week. Here are few items to chew on for the week:

  • Since January 6, 2021, I have felt the political career of the former president is over. But, I felt it would take some time for the Republican party to figure that out. To be honest, it has taken a little longer, but that is due to active sycophants who are scared to tell the MAGA crowd the truth.
  • The great unraveling is occurring with donors getting tired of the “sh** show” as one referred to Trump’s antics and an increasing number of conservative icons speaking out. The latest is Brian Kilmeade, who is one of hosts on Fox and Friends. His criticism speaks volumes as he has fawned over Trump for years.
  • I also heard that Trump is riveted to the hearings and is in furor with no one there to defend the indefensible – that Trump betrayed his country. He is blaming everyone else but the guy watching the TV from his home. The fact he is not accountable for his own actions has long been a weakness of the former president, but we have to remember his mentor, attorney Roy Cohn told him to “never apologize and to sue everyone” per his biographers.
  • I do think the odds-on favorite to the GOP nomination in 2024 is Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida. As an independent, this troubles me as I see a more effective mini-Trump in DeSantis who bullies people into acquiescence. The GOP could do much better with ex-govenors Mitch Daniels or John Kasich, but they do not stand a chance in hell, given they are more moderate and collaborative. Like Trump, the truth is a foreign currency to DeSantis, even before becoming governor.
  • SCOTUS has made two horrible rulings the past ten days to appease two different crowds of people. Roe v. Wade being changed gets the most notoriety. They took a fifty-year-old law that had been reduced to a workable framework and decided to gut it. So, now we will have a confederation of state laws. What is interesting to me, there were enough votes in Congress to pass some continuation of Roe v. Wade and may still be there, but it will require very narrow focus and not an expanded one. I think once Republicans realize this ruling is not a winner, some may want to come to the table, but that window for change may have closed.
  • The second ruling allowed people to more openly carry a gun overturning a New York law. This occurred a few days before Congress passed some watered governance changes, but at least they did do something. The SCOTUS ruling concerns me as mixing testosterone, alcohol and a firearms means more gun deaths. Mixing depression and gun access means more suicides. To be frank, people carrying guns does not make me feel safer given the temperature of too many in our country. People wound too tight might shoot first and talk second.
  • As for shootings, the beat goes on. More occurred yesterday. Plus, the US has exported mass shootings to other civilized countries, Norway being the most recent example. Given our fascination with guns and freedoms to use them, I truly don’t think we will ever solve this problem unless we make more demonstrative changes. I am glad something was done, but it was not near enough. But, it is a start. Sadly, the SCOTUS ruling may erase the chalk on the board where the new law is written.

That is all for now. Let me know your thoughts.

Under oath

Lying under oath has ramifications. So, it matters when someone testifies under oath in court or to a Congressional committee.

Under oath…

-Conservative judge Michael Luttig said to the House Select committee “Donald Trump and his allies are a clear and present danger to the United States.”

-during a deposition well before his presidency Donald Trump had thirty misstatements of facts that were corrected by the deposing attorney in real time per one of his biographers.

-several other Republican officials and staff testified to the House Select committee of the coercion by Donald Trump and his staff to lie and cheat so he could win the election. They also testified of the violent threats they received from Trump supporters to do his bidding.

-Donald Trump settled a court case on housing discrimination agreeing to make restitution. After failing to do so, Trump was taken back to court and restitution was demanded by the judge per one of his biographers.

-Michael Cohen, Donald Trump’s attorney and fixer said to another House committee “Donald Trump is a racist, he is a con-artist and he is a cheat.”

-in 2017 a judge ruled Donald Trump and his children failed to honor the donors to the Trump Foundation and used about $2 million for his own benefit over time. The judge ordered the repayment of the funds, the subsequent disbanding of the Foundation and distribution of funds per the by-laws of the Foundation. The judge also ordered that no one named Trump could oversee the distribution per The New York Times.

-where he promised to uphold the constitution, Donald Trump further divided America with his Big Lie and acted seditiously to instigate an insurrection against a branch of government per the findings and testimony of the House Select committee and about 65 court cases and all recounts, audits and reviews of election results requested by Trump or his allies.

I mention these items as the former president wants equal time to tell his side of the story. I say give him such time and swear him in, but first remind him that lying to Congress under oath is a criminal offense.

It is better we found out now

A friend told me that regardless of the seditious actions and Big Lie of the former president, that even his better educated relatives and friends who voted for Donald J. Trump will do so again. As unbelievable as this sounds, too many think this way. Here was a note I forwarded to him that he could feel free to share.

As an independent and former Republican and Democrat, I understood why some voted for Trump in 2016, as his opponent, although very experienced and skilled, rubbed too many the wrong way. She was one of the most capable candidates that has ever run, yet Trump’s success was getting people not to vote at all or for one of the other three candidates due to her past.

After watching him for four years, I cannot believe people voted for him again as what I saw was overt deceitful and bullying actions and as a conservative pundit David Brooks said a White House that was “equal parts chaos and incompetence.” His bungling of the pandemic response lingered after he left office and endangered too many. Yet, his fans just ignored all the bad press as biased and voted for him again. Yet, seeing the Big Lie and instigation of the insurrection on a branch of government is seditious action and he and his allies should be held to account. It is traitorous behavior. Full stop.

The question is not could Donald Trump win again – he could as we are not a very informed nation on the whole. The question is he should not be allowed to run again because he betrayed his country, as president. We are more divided as a nation because a person with a shallow ego is not man (or adult) enough to admit he lost the election. He can spin this all he wants, but he has lost all but one out of 65 or so court cases and every recount, audit and review. He cannot lose any more than he has. His niece said he will burn it all down to avoid losing the election – it is our democracy he is burning down.

Presidential historians have ranked him the 5th worst president in the US primarily due to his botching the pandemic and the insurrection and Big Lie. Yet, what little success he had is overstated as he inherited an economy that was in its 91st consecutive month of economic growth, with a more than doubled stock market and six straight years of  2+ million per annum job growth. Saying Trump did great with the economy is also saying Barack Obama did as well, which Republicans are loathe to do. Yet, Trump left us with a recession and Obama inherited a recession from his predecessor.

Sorry for the soapbox. Please feel free to route this as you see fit.

Letter to the editor – concerns over attacks on others

I sent the following brief letter to my newspaper this weekend. It will likely go unprinted, but I want to share it with you in case you would like to modify and use. Maybe it will get printed somewhere.

Reading about the increase in verbal and physical attacks on LGBTQ+ citizens or the denigration of the rights of women or people of color concern me. This is especially troubling when it comes from people who espouse the teachings of Jesus. When he said treat others like you want to be treated, he offered no caveats. Full stop. If we would only follow that one rule, which is so important it is called “golden” and also appears in in other religious texts, we would be in a much better place with our civility. We have two ears and one mouth, we should use them in that proportion. We all deserve such treatment.

People died for our country to preserve the freedoms for all its citizens. That guy Jesus chose to spend most of his time speaking to and hanging out with the disenfranchised people in his time. We should remind ourselves why would they choose to do that. Our country has had fits and starts of trying to live up to our ideals. Yet, we should never stop trying to be the best version of ourselves.

Testimony of Judge Michael Luttig to House Select Committee

In an article called “Politico Playbook: Exclusive – the words Luttig wants to be remembered” by Ryan Lizza and Eugene Daniels, the important testimony to the House Select Committee of an ultra-conservative judge named Michael Luttig are highlighted. Note, he is being ridiculed by those who don’t want you to hear or read his words saying he said them too slowly and poorly, but the message is true and important for our country to hear.

The best message need not be the most articulate. Here are a few paragraphs:

“DONALD TRUMP and his allies and supporters are a clear and present danger to American democracy.

January 6 was a war for America’s democracy. It was an immoral war instigated and prosecuted by Donald Trump and his political party allies and supporters.

There were many cowards on the battlefield of the United States Capitol that day, and we have heard much about their failed efforts to undermine our democracy. We have heard comparatively little about the patriotic bravery of the heroes who defended our democracy against those who sought to undermine our democracy that fateful day.

There comes a time in every single life — whether personal or public — when one is summoned to stand, bear witness, and affirm what he or she believes and does not believe. That is our moment of calling. Their witness, whether they be parent, relative, friend, loved one, or military or law enforcement defender, almost always comes at great personal sacrifice and cost.”

His words need to be heard. They need to be heeded. I like the fact he used the phrase about Trump and his sycophants being a “clear and present danger to American democracy.” I like the fact he used the words “cowards on the battlefield” as I have long felt that the former president is long on false bravado and short on actual bravery. Hearing Trump call Mike Pence a “wimp” because he would not break the law, amuses me as here is a person who has too fragile an ego to man-up and admit he lost an election.

I shared these paragraphs with my two Senators with one more plea to condemn the former president for his Big Lie and instigating the insurrection. Please feel free to do so with yours. I also want you to pay attention to the zeal of some Trump allies to denigrate the House Select Committee, as there are members of Congress who have some explaining to do about their role in the insurrection. Like the preacher who has sinned, they will be the most ardent in their criticism to avoid discovery.

It would not surprise me to see Trump and his allies brought up on charges. I actually think our country needs to do this as we cannot have a president acting like a king. That is not what we are all about.

https://www.politico.com/newsletters/playbook/2022/06/18/exclusive-the-words-luttig-wants-to-be-remembered-00040701

Attorney who worked for Trump for 30 years – please do not support him (a reprise)

I wrote the following post a few weeks after this piece was written in 2016. Having been in the limelight since that time, it is interesting to see how accurate the attorney was in his reasons for not voting for the former president. It should be noted that none of Trump’s five biographers advocated voting for him. Why is that?

An article, written by Thomas M. Wells, who worked as an attorney for Donald Trump, appeared in the Huffington Post at the end of last month. The article which is entitled “Donald Trump Hired Me As An Attorney. Please Don’t Support Him For President” can be found by the link at the end of this post.

Rather than repeat the article, which I encourage you to read, let me summarize his twenty reasons and offer two quotes that are quite informational. I will leave how the words appeared when I cut and pasted.

1. The man lies all the time.

2. It is actually not all about the candidate.

3. U.S. presidents are by design not kings.

4. THE DEVIL IS IN THE DETAILS.

5. Words matter.

6. Reading is good. So is studying. (See the first quote below).

7. The new vocabulary we are adjusting to is not a good one.

8. WE NEED TO BE CAREFUL WITH “TOUGH.”

9. Success does matter. (He notes Trump’s history has many failures).

10. We could not be the great country we are without the First Amendment, but our media may kill us. (He is noting the importance of the media).

11. Temperament, demeanor and character are important. (See second quote below)

12. The emperor and his clothes.

13. Sophomoric speech tricks don’t work ― at least not with most of us

14. A thin skin does not work for a president.

15. Bullies will always exist somewhere, but the White House should not be that somewhere.

16. Law and order. (He is noting the President has little impact on policing).

17. Incoherent rants, often contradictory, does not a foreign policy make.

18. How will anyone effectively be president if we don’t at least respect the office?

19. Rich and powerful guys have to play by the rules, too.

20. We must stand for something.

I found this first quote from Wells very compelling as Trump’s main opponent is clearly a policy wonk with significant experience and studies what is necessary to do the job. Wells says about Trump’s lack of concern and interest in knowing the details, “It is a special and unique form of arrogance to think you could even consider being literally the leader of the free world without doing the work to deeply understand the job.”

This second quote is also of importance as it indicates the make up of the man’s character. Wells says about Trump, “He is the spoiled young man of privilege with the “right” race … and family fortune to succeed easily and who looks down on others lacking in any of the above who do not.”

I have said many times, every thing one needs to know about Donald Trump’s lack of veracity as a candidate is in his history and it is not hard to find. Rather than me reiterate my reasons, I think it is good for someone who worked for him as an attorney to do so. If you are considering Trump or have concerns about him, please read this article. To be frank, I am surprised he has gotten as far as he has with his history of exploitation of others.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/donald-trump-hired-me-as-an-attorneyplease-dont_us_579e52dee4b00e7e269fb30f?section=&

A more national conservative beacon owned by Murdoch calls Trump on the carpet

In an opinion piece called “Rupert Murdoch’s team has heard the Jan. 6 committee’s message” by Dennis Aftergut in The Hill, the recent editorial by The Wall Street Journal is highlighted. Note, the WSJ is owned by Rupert Murdoch, whose New York Post also condemned the former president for his lies and seditious actions.

Here are the first few paragraphs from The Hill piece, with a link to the entire article below:

“How do you know when a core communication that crosses the partisan divide has gotten through?

Answer: When media from both sides of the divide receive the message.

That’s what happened on Saturday, June 11 — even before yesterday’s second hearing of the bipartisan House Select Committee investigating the events that led up to Jan. 6, 2021, and the violent siege of the Capitol that day. A powerful national voice of conservatism, The Wall Street Journal, let us know that it heard what the committee was telling us at its June 9 hearing.

In the Journal’s Saturday editorial entitled, ‘The Evidence of the Jan. 6 Committee,’ its editors offered a powerful summation: ‘Mr. Trump betrayed his supporters by conning them on Jan. 6, and he is still doing it.’ This from the newspaper owned by Rupert Murdoch, who also controls Fox News, the cable channel that refused to show the June 9 prime-time hearings.

Even so, his preeminent newspaper’s editorial is noteworthy because journalists on the left heard and amplified the virtually identical message. The eminent James Fallows articulated it: ‘Donald Trump lost the election, and everyone [in his circle] including him knew it.’ Fallows wrote that the mistake the Jan. 6 mob members made ‘was believing the lies they were continually fed by Trump himself.

There is not much more to be said other than the following. The former president betrayed more than his followers. He betrayed the United States of America and we are still paying the price with greater division and discord. All because his shallow ego cannot tolerate losing the election.