Why I left the Republican Party

I made the following comment on Jeff’s blog which asked the question why would someone vote Republican? I have made some edits for clarity.

When I left the GOP around 2008 to become an independent, I had three principal reasons:

-the stance on climate change
-the unhealthy embrace with evangelicals and NRA
-the greater propensity to make things up

Republicans would typically see the last one and say both sides lie and they are right. But, it is not a normal distribution, being more heavily weighted to the right. And, in the age of Trump it has only gotten worse. I can argue policy with Democrats, but with Republicans I have to correct their misinformation (and sometimes disinformation).

I said this about ten years ago, but most Republicans are voting against their economic interests and have no idea they are. Poverty is not restricted to urban areas nor is it restricted to non-white voters, with more people in poverty being white. As an example, if the ACA was done away with, Republican voters would be harmed in great numbers. A picture pairing two sets of GOP voters speaks volumes. Note the picture refers to a wealthy GOP donor thanking the less wealthy and educated GOP voter who has been lured in by a values proposition.

And, what I find funny is the GOP is making such a big deal out of election protections based on the Big Lie perpetuated by Trump and his sycophants. Looking back to the Voter ID and gerrymandering bills that got passed in state legislatures since 2010, the GOP cheats far more than the Democrats do, although they both are prone to game the system. I have witnessed this first-hand in North Carolina with laws that were deemed unconstitutional and then rewritten to a retreating line in the sand level of acceptable cheating.

Yet, the issues that concern me are not getting enough airplay, as the focus is on perceived value propositions. If people are concerned about climate change, please do not vote Republican. If people are concerned with civil rights, please do not vote Republican. If people are concerned with healthcare access, please do not vote Republican. If people are concerned about voting rights, please do not vote Republican. If people are concerned with the environment, please do not vote Republican.

My former party used to tout being the party of values, law and order and fiscal responsibility. They do not check any of these boxes anymore. Lying is not a value. Rationalizing an insurrection caused by a Republican president is not lawful. And, increasing the debt and deficit just as much as Democrats do is hypocritical. But, in short, when the truth tellers are vilified and the liars are aggrandized in the party, that shows the party is untethered to the truth.

Democrats are not perfect, but I do not see the same level of lying and malevolence as I do under the GOP. Until the party leaders are told the truth matters and held to account, this won’t change. We must make them rethink this. Some of my Democrat friends disagree with this statement, but we do need a viable Republican party. What we don’t need is whatever this thing masquerading as the Republican party is. Truth must matter.

Misinformation is a tactic says Senator to aspiring medical students

Misinformation is as old as the spoken word. Especially, as it relates to obtaining or keeping power. I was made aware of the following reference from a speech made by a current US Senator that is as good example of why we must demand the truth as reported in a Newsweek article by Aila Slisco, earlier this week:

“Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said that ‘misinformation’ could be a ‘great tactic’ during a speech to a group of medical school students in 2013. In a video shared to Twitter by epidemiologist Eric Feigl-Ding on Wednesday, the Kentucky Republican can be seen telling students that ‘misinformation works’ during an Aug. 22, 2013, lecture at the University of Louisville School of Medicine.”

Sadly, the Senator is correct. But, he should not be. We must demand more from our elected officials. It is hard enough to govern with facts, but nigh impossible when we ignore them. What I also find appalling is the Senator shared this with medical students who take an oath before becoming doctors to do no harm.

We also must demand the truth from our news and pseudo news sources on various cable and radio shows. Some actually parrot disinformation, misinformation’s more evil twin. Since it is unlikely we will hear a consistently truthful message from some of these folks, our best bet is do what Fox News management said in court about one of its stars, Tucker Carlson. In essence, they said Carlson is not part of their news team, so his opinions should not be considered as news. I would agree with Fox management on this statement.

The truth matters. Misinformation is not the truth, in spite of whether it is a good tactic per Senator Paul. Taking this a step further, it means the Senator has just informed us it is OK not to believe him.

“It was obviously a mistake” is an oft repeated theme

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson seems to be in the newspapers for all the wrong reasons these days. It does not bode well for the PM with people calling for his resignation. The latest challenge for him is the revelation he socialized with gatherings of people on a couple of occasions during a country-wide lockdown for COVID. Things have gone so poorly for him with Brexit advisors quitting, that he is probably glad Prince Andrew’s alleged philandering is stealing his headlines.

“It was obviously a mistake” is an oft repeated theme. This quote actually comes directly from US Senator Ted Cruz of Texas. Cruz uttered said remark after vacationing with his family in Cancun, Mexico during a winter storm in 2021 that left millions of Texans without power and water. This was not the best of times to go out of the country with constituents down on their luck.

Cruz should have learned the lesson from Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison who decided to proceed with a vacation in Hawaii at not the best of times back home. Some severe and large wildfires were burning with people losing their homes, animals and lives as he put more suntan lotion on to keep from burning his skin on the Hawaiian beaches. The press was none to kind. The fact that Cancun and Hawaii are exotic locations did not help their cause.

These stories rival the former US president who had several pep rallies during the COVID pandemic in 2020 where people got sick. In Tulsa, six of his staff members had COVID and it is believed former presidential candidate Herman Cain contracted it there and died. In the fall, the former president had a party in September where he himself may have contracted the disease among several others. But, the worst example is having pep rallies in February of that year without telling his biggest fans they were in danger, as he later confirmed he was aware of in an interview on February 7. Not only that, he naysayed the pandemic calling it a “Democrat hoax.”

We all make bad decisions. Yet, politicians are supposedly skilled at PR or have PR people to advise them not to do stupid things. To me, the worst examples are the last ones with the former US president as they were repeated offenses. And, they each trace back to assuaging a fragile ego with praise, in my view. He was tired of being criticized in Washington, so he wanted to bask in the glow of his biggest fans, who he placed at risk to hear their applause. Think about that.

As for the first three, these folks would crave a do-over. “It was obviously a mistake” is not something politicians like to utter.

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

Remember those teachers who impacted you so much

Teachers are feeling the brunt of the recent COVID surge. They want to teach but keep themselves, their familes and the kids safe. Yet, we owe so much to our teachers, especially those that changed our lives.

I am biased as my mother was a teacher. I saw how hard she worked grading papers into the night, offering constructive feedback and encouragement to each student. I have seen criticism of teachers when they are looking for pay increases around them not working a full year. But, when you add up their hours and compare them to those of the average year-around working person, they have nothing to be ashamed of in that category.

Please indulge me as I remember a few of my teachers – I will focus on Grades 1 – 12, as I can do an entire post of college professors..

  • I remember Ms. Shrout, the tiniest of high school teachers, exude passion as she taught us Algebra and Trigonometry. She had to stand on her toes to write long solutions from the top of the board. And, she was funny and made us laugh as she taught us so much.
  • I remember Ms. Bowden, who no one would ever accuse of being warm and fuzzy, show her big heart and big mind as she taught us Chemistry and Physics. She treated everyone so fairly and gave up so much of her time as a softball and basketball coach. Ironically, I first met her when I was nine as she was my swimming instructor at the community pool.
  • I remember Mr. Franks who taught us Civics in junior high school. He made learning fun about how society should work, that I would love to see him teach folks today who need it so much. He was as engaging and inviting of dialogue as any teacher I ever had before I got to college.
  • I remember Ms. Regan who taught us Literature in high school. She made reading the classics enjoyable, helping us get beneath the stories that sometimes got hidden in the fanciful prose and poetry. Our classes were enjoyable and engaging. She also gave of herself as a tennis coach.

I could mention more, but wanted to highlight a few. I noted a couple of these teachers also coached the kids after school. They would spend a lot of extra time to help others in so doing, but if I remember correctly got US$500 per annum in extra compensation for all those hours of work at practice and games.

Let me know about some of your favorite teachers and why. Each of the above had a different style, but each conducted classes that were interactive and engaging, which is what it is all about.

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.

Retired General urges folks to stop listening to baseless election fraud claims (and the MyPillow CEO) in CNN interview

While Congresswoman Liz Cheney got most of the press yesterday saying it is time for Republicans to choose between the truth and Donald Trump, another retired military person has shared his concerns about the baseless election fraud claims of the former president. Per a summary of a CNN interview, here are few excerpts.

Retired Brigadier General Steven M. Anderson urged Donald Trump supporters to stop listening to baseless claims about 2020 presidential election fraud and suggested measures to avoid a potential insurrection in 2024.

The former general spoke with CNN host Pamela Brown about solutions that would address the ‘extremism that has gone on within the military.’ He also warned against listening to conspiracists among many Republicans promoting baseless claims of election fraud, including MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell.

‘We need to do what we can do now to identify those people [within the military], get them out of our ranks, and train the rest of the force on civics one on one about how our country is supposed to work, how elections work, stop listening to the pillow guy [Lindell] and start learning about our country and how it’s actually supposed to run,’ Anderson said during his recent interview with CNN.

There is a threat within [the military]. We’ve got some people that just haven’t been educated. They haven’t been found out, and they’ve grown in power through perhaps inaction on the parts of some of our key leaders,’ he added.

What continues to bother me is the open attacks on the truth tellers in the Republican party who are calling out the overt lies of the former president, while those covering for the ex-president get elevated status in the party and media ranks. It should matter that these folks know they would be vilified,yet speak out anyway. Why is that? These lies led to an insurrection against a branch of government and people died and many were in danger.

We can never forget what happened leading up to that day a year ago and the fact the former president continues what his former attorney general William Barr told to his boss’ face – the election fraud claims are BS.

Opportunity missed – a revisit

Happy New Year. This is a repeat of an old post from five years ago. Its message is still apt.

One of my favorite quotes about opportunity is “Opportunity is missed because it is often dressed up as hard work.” To me, this speaks volumes. Too many look for easy answers, when success comes from doing some heavy lifting.

Along these lines, in his book “Outliers,” two of Malcolm Gladwell’s four traits of successful people involve opportunity. I should mention the other two are being smart or talented enough and putting in 10,000 hours or more of practice. But, the two pertinent to this discussion are recognizing opportunity and seizing opportunity.

A quick example illustrates this point. By the time he was age 21, Bill Gates was one of the top programmers in the world. Why? He had the opportunity to work on the mainframe computer after 1 am at the University of Washington. As Gladwell points out, it was recognizing this opportunity and getting up or staying up to program while others slept or had fun. He was learning.

Gladwell points out that even the smartest of people sometimes overlook opportunity. In a genius grant project, money was given to watch these geniuses flourish, but many of them were not successful. The reason is they missed opportunity. The ones who were successful either saw opportunity or had someone who brokered opportunity for them.

Some very smart people fail to see that they are in competition for people’s time, interest and money. By waiting until something is perfected or their schedule frees, that opportunity may be gone.

So, what conclusions can be drawn from this brief discussion. First, don’t be frightened of hard work. A man will never be shot while washing the dishes.

Second, keep your head up, network, ask questions and just be involved in your surroundings. Connect dots by looking for or asking about things you see in someone’s office or something you saw online.

Third, be prepared for these moments. Do your research on companies and people that you are meeting with. This will help in making those connections.

Fourth, seize opportunities. If you are driving and see an interesting shop – stop the car and pull in. This is a metaphor for business, volunteer or investment opportunities. Since the average person has had eleven jobs by the time they’re forty, take a chance on something that interests you. But, honor that interest and invest your time in it. These life experiences will build your wisdom.

Opportunities abound. Look for them. Seize them. Work them.

A little bit of this and that for 2022

Happy New Year everyone. May your resolutions last longer than your hangover. I have celebrated New Year’s in a number of ways, but this old soul is less inclined to stay up until midnight these days. Living on the east coast of the US, we have resorted to celebrating the New Year’s on Greewich time, so we are done early.

I learned yesterday the legendary actress Betty White left us just shy of her 100th birthday. She has always been a character and has played many different types of roles over the years. She played nice girl roles for the longest time, so when she played the back-stabbing Sue Ann Niven in the 1970s on the “Mary Tyler Moore Show” it was a shock. Yet, she went onto many other roles in the 1980s and 1990s on the “Golden Girls” and “Hot in Cleveland.”. And, she was a terrific humanitarian and friend to animals. May she RIP.

Going in to 2022 and its insane campaign season which started about eleven months ago, we must try to regain some level of civil discourse in our society. Since changing politicians and opinion entertainers seems nigh impossible. we will have to make this a ground up change and force them to notice.

Here a few rules of the road that might help:

-if someone speaks or writes with name calling, labelling and cursing as their modus operandi, do what I often do and stop reading and do not respond. If this is the how the person wishes to argue, then his or her argument is poor.

-cease watching opinion entertainers who are dressed-up spin-doctors at best and disinformation peddlers at worst. Some do their homework more than others, but you are being told an opinion, often times not a well-supported one.

-if you are getting your news from someone on social media who you like because you agree with them, please do not consider that news and refer to the first two items above.

-if you are getting your news from a politician, check other sources; some have more veritas than others, but too many are just spouting BS without doing much homework. I used to think elected officials knew more than we do (and some did), but I stopped thinking that long ago. They also expect us to have short memories.

-you have two ears and one mouth, use them in that proportion. Ask more questions of people and listen to their answers. Listen to understand, not to respond. Only then can you follow-up with comments, but make sure you give like you want to get. Calling a person an idiot is not a good sales pitch.

-be civil to each other. Sometimes the best thing to say, is not to say it. Look for common ground, by doing that listening thing noted above. You may disagree on five points, but agree on two. That is a start.

One final thought to drum in your head. An old friend used to say “you can never have enough cups of coffee with people.” Engage. Converse. Catch-up. And, thank the other person for their time and interest. Time and interest are the best gifts someone can give you.

Be safe in 2022. Be well and be wise.