A push back on the baseless election fraud claims by senior Republicans

The former president continues to berate anyone who does not support his Big Lie that the election was stolen from him. Senator Mike Rounds, from Pennsylvania, is the latest target of the vindictive acting former president. Per an MSN article called “Top Republicans stand up for Rounds after Trump’s attack – he told the truth,” more GOP Senators are emboldened:

“Senior Republicans are closing ranks behind Sen. Mike Rounds after he endured a scathing attack from former President Donald Trump for acknowledging the reality that President Joe Biden won the 2020 election.

The back-and-forth is the latest sign that many Republicans — particularly in the Senate — are eager to move past the former President’s obsession with the 2020 elections and instead focus on more fertile ground: The Biden agenda and their efforts to take back both houses of Congress in 2022.

Yet, Trump continues to hover over the party given his outsize influence with the base, his close hold over House Republicans and his ability to generate attention over his outright falsehoods and conspiracies over the outcome of the 2020 election. That has prompted concerns among senior Republicans that his claims over the election could depress GOP voter turnout in the fall, something that a number of senators blame for costing them the two Georgia Senate seats — and the majority — last January.

I think Sen. Rounds told the truth about what happened in the 2020 election,’ Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told CNN on Tuesday. ‘And I agree with him.’

It should be noted the former president stopped an interview earlier this week on NPR when the interviewer kept asking him questions about his baseless election fraud claims. When it was noted that Senator McConnell does not support the baseless claims, the former president resorted to form by calling McConnell “a loser.” Well-articulated rebuttal is not the former president’s strong suit, one could say.

Speaking of losing, the former president has won only one court case out of around 65 court cases and has lost every recount, review and audit he has contested. It would be hard for him to lose any more than that, especially give all of the money spent to prove otherwise. In fact, some of his funders want their money back as they now feel misled by the former president. They were. And, it is finally good to see more push back on the Big Lie.

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/top-republicans-stand-up-for-rounds-after-trump-s-attack-he-told-the-truth/ar-AASFQrC?ocid=msedgntp

A second Saturday in 2022 – a plethora of potpourri to ponder

Since I woke up to a plethora of thoughts and news nuggets, let me offer a potpourri of topics to ponder. In no particular order:

  • This headline says it all – “Ahmaud Arbery’s killers get life sentences; no possibility of parole for Travis and Gregory McMichael.” A black man should not fear for his life when he is out jogging. Given we are almost sixty years removed from the passing of the Civil Rights Act, it would be my hope that stuff like what happened to Ahmaud Arbery and countless others should not be happening anymore. We have made progress, but we seem to have backslid some.
  • The world lost one of its finest actors in Sidney Poitier yesterday. Several outstanding movies include: “To Sir with Love,” “The Defiant Ones,” “Guess who’s coming to Dinner,” and “In the Heat of the Night” to name only a few. “To Sir with Love” ranks on a short list of the best teacher movies. Seeing Poitier in the final scene tear up his offer letter to go teach elsewhere is poignant. Also, to see him and Rod Steiger in the last film is powerful as they showed what institutionalized bigotry looks like. He won an Oscar for the movie “The Lilies in the Field,” but I think each of his roles in the above films were more impactful.
  • In the midst of all the year-end deaths, the world lost a peacemaker and humanitarian in Desmond Tutu. Along with Nelson Mandela, Tutu helped bring attention to the rights of the disenfranchised during Apartheid. God bless the peacemakers. Seeing Tutu interviewed always brought a smile to my face as he seemed to ooze joy and kindness. Here is one of many wonderful quotes of Tutu’s along those lines: “Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.”
  • Reading Tutu’s quotes and knowing what he has overcome, I encourage folks to find ways to look past differences and find some commonality. There is far more good in our world than people realize as the bad news makes the headlines – “if it bleeds, it leads.” This may be one reason Tutu’s passing went by too unnoticed. Look beneath the headlines and find the good in people. We should celebrate those peacemakers, the truth tellers, the kind spirits that exist in our world. They usually don’t beat on their chests with false bravado, so sometimes you have to look harder.

Have a wonderful 2022. Be safe. Be wise. Be kind. Be civil.

Please remember a few things

On the anniversary of a horrendous day in America which occurred last year, we need to remember a few common sensical things. We can never let this happen again, especially when it appears a few lawmakers aided and abetted the efforts of the insurrectionists out of loyalty to a former president who has a well-documented history of being less than truthful.

  • when people who are in the know tell you not to look at the man behind the curtain, make darn sure you look behind the curtain.
  • when people who are decrying the investigative House committee is a sham, please remember two very important things – the same people voted down a proposed independent commission and nominated at least two people to be on the committee who are actually suspects in aiding and abetting the efforts, which at best is conflict of interest.
  • when people have gone out of their way to tell you what happened did not happen that way, in essence saying don’t believe your own eyes then you should be skeptical of those efforts.
  • when people who beat on their chest about law and order belittle the Capitol police force who testified under oath and at great consternation, what does that say?
  • when people seemingly ignore the former president’s inability to prove his false election claims after over 65 court cases (winning one small one in PA) and losing several recounts, reviews and audits in spite of all of his financial resources, you think these conspiracy minded people may begin to realize the REAL CONSPIRACY is being propagated on them by the former president of the United States.

As an old fart who once was a Republican and Democrat and is now an Independent voter, I am an American first. Our democracy is being further threatened because a seventy-year old person is pitching a hissy fit because his fragile ego cannot take losing. It truly is that simple. His niece Mary said her uncle “will burn it all down to avoid losing the election.” She said this just after the election and well before January 6, 2021.

We need a healthy dose of political courage in this country, especially in the Republican party. They must stop vilifying the truth tellers and start being critical of those who are not shooting straight with us. Republican Congresspersons Liz Cheney, Adam Kinzinger, Pete Meier, et al are getting death threats, yet are still speaking up. Why is that?

Most people I know do not like being lied to. Please ask more questions of sources and think about the statements above. What happened on January 6 started well before that date and we need to see that clearly to stop it from happening again.

Being silent is not enough

The courageous few Republicans who are among the truth tellers in their party are strong in principle, but seem to be standing alone or in small groupings way too often. For their truth telling, they are knowingly vilified and some even receive death threats by fans of the former president. Yet, they do it anyway.

Most of the elected officials in the party are keenly aware that Congresswoman Liz Cheney’s question of is the Republican party going to be the party of truth or party of Trump a more than fair question. Yet, they have chosen to be silent. In essence, they are saying to themselves “Don’t poke the bear.” They want to avoid being highlighted by the former president and his bullying and untruthful bent, whose followers will join in the fray.

This spineless tactic is not new. Back in the heyday of the Communist witch hunts and Senator Joe McCarthy, the populist candidate had a huge following. The Republican even rivaled the popularity of President Dwight Eisenhower. From Jon Meacham’s book “The Soul of America,” the historian points out Eisenhower detested McCarthy for his baseless claims that he frequently made up on the spot. Yet, Ike would not publicly demean McCarthy for his claims, only to offer mild comments from time to time.

He and the other Republicans tolerated McCarthy. They remained silent. It was not until the most respected TV journalist Edward R. Murrow exposed McCarthy for what he was that his impact began to ebb. But, the impact of McCarthy’s baseless accusations lingered on for years. The famous question asked by a senior Army official of McCarthy, “Have you no sense of decency, sir?” could be asked of the most recent former president, another populist who tends to make baseless claims.

I encourage all of you who agree with the purpose of this post, to consistently let elected Republican and other officials know you appreciate their political courage for pushing back on the incessant and well-documented untruthful actions and words of the former president. And, let your Republican Senators, Congress person, and GOP leaders know you are concerned about this untruthful path the party has taken. The GOP has lost any veritas it had left. I even let them know how much I admire the courage of the truth tellers and it is a shame they are getting death threats.

The accusations of sedition toward the former president tend to focus more on what he failed to do last January 6. In my view as an Independent and former Republican voter, his consistent baseless claims of election fraud, which he has tried to prove and failed miserably in courts, audits and recounts, are what greased the skids for what happened on January 6.

As his niece said, “My uncle will burn it all down to avoid losing the election.” I knew he would act this way, but what makes me more frustrated are the sycophants who publicly cover for his Big Lie and the too silent many in party leadership who are letting him do it. And, what they fail to realize based on previous history and current actions, the former president will throw them under the bus in a New York minute, even placing them in physical danger with targets on their backs if they do not play ball with him.

Goodbye to 2021

The past year began with more hope to finally turn the page, only to find that the next few pages were glued together. COVID’s vaccines had been created and hope that we could put this pandemic more behind us were building. And, the last president of the United States was going to leave after one term taking his untruthful, bullying, incompetent and ego-maniacal bent with him.

Sadly, we learned that no good deed goes unpunished, and politicians made political a pandemic and its vaccines, masks, and other tools to fight it. In some places, public officials who were trying to help people got vilified by hyper-political attacks fueled by governors from Texas and Florida, and the former president. Ironically, only last week when the former president tried to do the right thing and advocated the booster shot, he got booed by his own fans. He realized then he helped create a monster that was bigger than himself.

We also learned that same man was far more than what is noted above. We learned he played a heavy hand in seditious activities to overthrow a branch of government. This handiwork may be proven to be far worse than what is overtly known, but we cannot and must not let what happened on January 6 happen again. Full Stop.

And, we learned he can be sociopathic. Narcissism is a form of sociopathism, but it came to a point when the former president confirmed this year what he told two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Bob Woodward in an interview on February 7, 2020 that he knew of the dangers of COVID then. What makes this unnerving is he had several pep rallies later in the month of February with his most loyal followers without telling them they were in danger. At those rallies, he told them COVID was Democrat hoax and naysayed it.

We also learned that Joe Biden can make mistakes just like his predecessors. Getting out of Afghanistan so abruptly without forewarning allies caused a rapid domino effect. We had little reconnaissance that people in the military would simply step aside so easily to let the Taliban assume control. Yet, we should have known and handled this better. One of the sad truths about American leadership is sometimes we let our own arrogance get in the way of learning the facts. We went into Iran and Afghanistan thinking we knew more than we did and it caused us problems.

I will say Biden, while imperfect, is a breath of fresh air from his predecessor. I grew very tired of the lens always being on the former president. I actually do not want to hear from the president every day. Let the people you hired do their jobs. I am also glad we finally got an infrastructure bill passed after ten years of inaction. America must invest in ourselves as we have fallen into a state of disrepair.

On the global front, we are learning that Brexit is briar patch that is hard to navigate without getting thorns. And, while it is appropriate that Boris Johnson be the one getting the thorns given his marketing stance on Brexit early on, it is painfully obvious the UK needs someone who knows details and diplomacy to handle the unwind. We are also seeing China continue to assert itself as the dominant global power, with its heightened crackdown on dissent in Hong Kong (and elsewhere) and reaping the dividends of investing in rare earth metals that go into so many electronics.

So, in 2022, I hope we can put the COVID thing to bed. And, I hope the less fervent followers of the former president start to realize what kind of person he truly is. The question has never been can he win again. The question is he should not ever be allowed to be in charge again. America needs to stop its own in fighting long enough that others like us fighting amongst ourselves as they take advantage.

A Monday morning after Christmas

Since I rise early, after feeding the dog and letting him outside, I can settle down with a cup of coffee and shadowy morning serenity to catch up on posts and post the words for a new day. While Christmas was enjoyable to a small degree, we have continuing concern after my oldest son came in contact with an “unannounced” COVID infected person. He is feeling poorly (although he said the Mucinex is helping with congestion),but did test negative on a less than accurate test. He is awaiting the more detailed test results, which have been held up by the holidays and will likely test again later in the week.

Fortunately, he has had the first two vaccines, yet is scheduled to have the booster. He was bummed he did not get to be here live for all of the festivities, but we delivered his presents and some homemade chicken soup. He was also disappointed someone he knew did not tell him he or she was infected, until after handing him a cup of coffee and being close by. Since he has been so diligent with his precautions, this less than altruistic attitude of an acquaintance was particularly “disappointing” to him. It is like someone breeched his trust.

Disappointing is the word that comes to mind for my wife and me. While I applaud those who have gotten vaccines and take the COVID seriously with the steps they take, I am disappointed that others are not so community minded. While I understand legitimate concerns about the pace of the vaccines roll out, I tend to find arguments about vaccines being an infringement of freedoms lacking in veracity. And, for those who are avoiding the vaccines because some talk show host or elected official made this political, I strongly disagree with that rationale.

I was watching “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel” last night where their year-end show recaps the year’s stories. One reporter made the comment about the falderol over certain athletes who have lied about taking the vaccines, but noted the professional leagues tend to have very high vaccination rates – the WNBA has a 96% rate, while the NBA has a 92% rate. The reporter noted too much fuss is placed over the named players who have not, but we lose sight of the low vaccine rates in the New York City police force (she cited 32%) as an example, which should give us greater pause.

I share our vaccine stories with others and try to be encouraging. Yet, when people are cavalier about the responsibility that comes with freedom, it gives me pause. And, if my son does have COVID because of such, it adds fuel to my disappointment in those who do not take this seriously. If I offended you, then I am sorry, but that is the way my wife and I feel. Please get the vaccines and/ or booster shots. It helps you, your family, your friends and others you come in contact with.

Holiday wishes for politicians, candidates and voters (ten years later)

Happy holidays to all. I wanted to close the year with a few holiday wishes to various constituencies – politicians, candidates and voters – as we move into a full campaign year. Please note this piece was written ten years ago, but still holds true.

For all parties, I strongly encourage you to read “That Used to be Us” by Thomas Friedman and Michael Mandelbaum. The subtitle is ” How America Fell Behind in the World It Invented and How We can Come Back” and I think it should be required reading for all politicians and candidates. The voters would be benefit greatly as well as it will help us keep the first two groups honest and focusing on the right things.

I wish for politicians and candidates to focus on things of import and less on platitudes. The 2012 Republican presidential debates have tended to focus on less important things and we need to ask tough questions about where we are as a country and how do we do what is needed on the major issues of the day. We have tended to dumb down the debates about issues that have been decided (abortion) or that run counter to what is actually happening (global warming). It is hard for me to take someone seriously who wants to do away with the EPA or will choose which judicial rulings he will obey.

I wish for politicians and candidates to think more before they speak. Our problems are complex and deserve well thought out answers. Herman Cain was toast long before his personal crises, as he had not done any homework in preparation for the most important job in the world. I also wish for politicians to tell the truth or use meaningful information to support a cause. Not all data is equal and biased survey data needs to be identified and ferreted out. I have taken a survey gleaned by Newt Gingrich’s team and, frankly, it was biased from the outset and I told them so.*

I wish for politicians and candidates to collaborate with others. They do not have all of the answers and some don’t have a good hand to begin with. So, it is imperative they collaborate with others across all spectrums. This is a major reason I am an independent voter. Collaboration is the key to our success.

I wish for voters to take everything a politician says with a grain of salt. With the infamous words uttered by Senator Kyl earlier this year when he was caught in a lie, “please don’t interpret my comments as being factual,”  he gave us the proper advice. Senator, we will take that advice to the bank. We will not believe anything you say from this point forward. The Democrats should not gloat as they have tended to misrepresent a fact or two, as well.

We voters also need to keep the politicians and candidates between the white lines. We should consider all portrayed facts or survey data in the right context. Who conducted the survey? Where did the facts come from? Does this person have a history, both good or bad, with the subject? Some congressman are supported by lobbying groups and they will vote 100% of the time on issues in favor of the lobbyist’s cause. Their opinions should be discounted as being overly biased.

Our problems need serious people and serious discussions to address them. Going back to the book noted above, we have wavered from our mission, but we can rectify our problems if we think long term and approach our problems together. If we continue our partisan bickering, we will likely fail in these endeavors.

Thanks for reading. I wish for each of you and all of us, a prosperous New Year.

*Note: Herman Cain, the pizza chain tycoon, got early press in his presidential candidacy for his simple 9-9-9 tax plan, as he called it. The problems started appearing when he could not explain what it meant and he started contradicting himself. Newt Gingrich, the former Speaker of the House, started out strong in 2012 in his presidential run, but he fell by the wayside when his over-confident manner rubbed too many the wrong way. People forget his own party removed him as Speaker for similar reasons in the 1990s.

Mormon leaves the church taking his money with him

A technology billionaire has sent a letter of resignation to the Mormon church noting the reasons why he and his family are leaving. Jeff T. Green notes while there are some fine people in the church doing good things, the church itself is doing harm to people. He said the Mormon church is antagonistic to women’s rights, civil rights and the rights of the LGBTQ+ community.

In an article in Newsweek called “Utah Native Billionaire Jeff T. Green Quits LDS, Says Mormonism ‘Hindered Global Progress” by Danny Villarreal, the following excerpt can be gleaned:

“Jeff T. Green, thought to be the wealthiest person hailing from the state of Utah, recently wrote an open letter to Russell Nelson, president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), announcing his resignation from the church along with 11 family members and a friend.

I believe the Mormon Church has hindered global progress in women’s rights, civil rights and racial equality, and LGBTQ+ rights,’ Green’s 900-word letter stated.

Although the Mormon Church has made modern efforts to publicly atone for its past policy positions, the church has funded anti-LGBTQ initiatives, including a 2008 ballot measure to overturn same-sex marriages in California. The church also has a long history of demonizing people of color. Official LDS policy banned Black people from entering Mormon temples until 1978.”

Green will be making an immediate $600,000 donation to support LGBTQ+ issues, but has promised the lion’s share of his $5 billion fortune will go to causes shunned by the church.

In another public display to get the Mormon church to treat the LGBTQ+ community better, Mormon Dan Reynolds, the lead singer of Imagine Dragons, helped lead a concert for at risk youth in the church. He has been trying to push the church in the directions that Jeff Green sees far too slow movement. Here is a write up from the online press Vulture in 2018 about Reynolds’ efforts.

“Dan Reynolds did everything right. He served as a Mormon missionary and attended the Church-owned Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. He then got married and fathered three children. Reynolds also started a band, and now, at 31, he’s the singer in Imagine Dragons, arguably the biggest rock band in the world. Plenty of rock stars have nontraditional pasts, but Reynolds is different: He’s using his platform as a very famous straight man to advocate for LGBTQ rights, and in the process he’s alienating his band from its fans and himself from his own faith.”

This is how change occurs. It takes a grass roots effort embraced by some very public figures who can use their money and gravitas to get people’s attention. Regardless of faith, the words of Jesus can be found in multiple religious texts – treat others like you want to be treated. No caveats. No ifs, ands or buts. Let’s truly honor Jesus’ birthday by doing our best to remember those words.

https://www.newsweek.com/utah-native-billionaire-jeff-t-green-quits-lds-says-mormonism-hindered-global-progress-1661959

https://www.vulture.com/2018/11/why-imagine-dragons-is-fighting-for-lgbtq-rights.html

Former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows voted in contempt of Congress (letter to the editor)

Earlier this week, the US House followed the recommendation of the House Select Committee to vote to hold Mark Meadows in contempt for defying a subpoena. My newspaper ran my letter to the editor this morning on my sentiments as an Independent and former Republican voter.

“Meadows vote

As an independent and former Republican voter, it is disappointing that only two GOP House members voted to hold former chief of staff Mark Meadows in contempt for defying a subpoena concerning the Jan. 6 insurrection.

It matters not which tribe people represent, we Americans must get to the bottom of what happened on that horrible day in our history when members of Congress from both parties were in danger and other people died in the protest.

Those who are blocking the House select committee’s efforts are trying to mask what happened. Regardless of culpability, we cannot have people blowing off subpoenas made by Congress. It sets a horrible precedent for governance.”

Please feel free to modify and use if you agree with my sentiments.

Chris Wallace rides off into the sunset

Chris Wallace’s leaving Fox News is telling and should raise more than a few eyebrows. Yet, we should not forget last month Jonah Goldberg and Stephen Hays left Fox because of the Tucker Carlson supported false flag documentary of the January 6 insurrection.

And, we should not forget the former president having Shepard Smith fired by Fox as he had the temerity to be critical of the then president. William Barr met with Fox executives and Smith was gone the next day. Smith, like Wallace, were actual news people. And, Goldberg and Hays had a lot of crediblility. Carlson, Hannity et al are just opinion hosts who look to sensationalize not report. 

In an article called “Fox news host confronts Lindsey Graham over backing tax cuts that add $2T to deficit,” by Jason Lemon of Newsweek, why Wallace will be missed is in evidence as he put Senator Lindsey Graham on the spot.

“Fox News anchor Chris Wallace confronted Senator Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, on Sunday over supporting former President Donald Trump’s 2017 tax cuts—which are projected to add some $2 trillion to the national debt—while criticizing Democrats for pushing forward legislation that is not entirely paid for.

Graham, along with other Republican lawmakers, has strongly criticized President Joe Biden‘s Build Back Better Act, raising alarms that it will add hundreds of billions to the deficit if passed into law. Last month, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projected that the social spending package ‘would result in a net increase in the deficit of $367 billion over the 2022-2031 period, not counting additional revenue that may be generated by additional funding for tax enforcement.’

Wallace pointed out to Graham during an interview on Fox News Sunday that he supported Trump’s signature tax cuts in 2017, despite CBO estimating they’d add some $2 trillion to the deficit. When those tax cuts were passed, Republicans claimed that the tax cuts would pay for themselves, despite the CBO scoring.”

A link to the full article is below. The above is just one example of what Wallace does. He was an outlier at Fox News, but now he is not even that. This is telling.

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/fox-news-host-confronts-lindsey-graham-over-backing-tax-cuts-that-add-2t-to-deficit/ar-AARK0U6?ocid=msedgntp