Soggy Sunday

We are getting much needed rain from a storm called Nestor. I don’t think Nestor ever made it to formal hurricane status, but it did spawn some tornadoes in the Florida panhandle.

Speaking of rain, the British parliament rained on Boris Johnson’s Brexit parade. What does the future hold? The one thing that must not happen is a no-deal Brexit. Brexit will be challeging enough, but a no-deal Brexit would be a Trump worthy disaster.

Speaking of Trump worthy disasters, there are three that are in the news, although he backtracked on one under Republican pressure. In the middle of being investigated for abuse of power, he abused his power saying the next G7 conference would be at a Trump resort. “Unforced error” is the kindest definition of this announcement, which was uttered by Neil Cavuto of Fox Business. Trump changed his mind, but of course blamed others for this unwise decision.

The abandonment of our Kurdish allies ranks up there as a betrayal of our trust. As conservative pundit David Brooks said on Friday, how does it make South Korea feel, being surrounded by China and North Korea, to have to rely on the US led by such an untrustworthy person? Noted columnist Christine Flowers announced this week she is leaving the Republican Party because of this move and the rationalization by Trump supporters. Let me keep it simple – Trump screwed people that fought on our behalf.

Finally, after the testimony under oath by Marie Yovanovitch, Fiona Hill and others, a picture has been painted by these reputable public servants that the US president has been running shadow diplomacy through his personal attorney Rudy Guliani. Setting aside these efforts are designed to dig up dirt on the president’s opponents, we have more than a few people representing our government in positions of import who have not been vetted by the Senate, including but not limited to. Guiliani, Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump. With Trump’s chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, confirming what these state people testified under oath, we are left with a simple fact. The US president broke the law and abused his power. Do not let his sycophants try to whitewash this – it is wrong.

Keeping with this “Soggy Sunday” theme as rain pelts the president’s actions, as Creedence Clearwater Revival sang, “who will stop the rain?”

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Our Republic is under attack by its president says a retired admiral

An increasing number of people with gravitas are going on record to heighten concerns over the abuse of powers and attempts to obstruct such from view by the US president. Thomas Friedman has penned an excellent editorial along these lines (below is a link to a blog which includes Friedman’s piece). He contrasts the political courage and heroic words under oath of Former Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch to the words at various rallies by the US president calling those who criticize him as enemies of the state.

Also, below is a link to a summary of an editorial by retired Admiral William McRaven, who led the raid on Osama Bin Laden among other career accomplishments. He has penned a piece that is simply called “Our republic is under attack from the president.” As he notes, this is not just McRaven’s opinion as an unnamed General took him aside and said the president is a threat and has to go. The summary starts out with the following statement:

“Former Adm. William McRaven (Ret.) argued in an op-ed Thursday that President Trump is ‘destroying’ the United States, warning that the future of the country is ‘in peril if Trump is not removed from office.'”

As more reasoned voices who mitigated Trump’s worst instincts and impulses have left the building, the nation should be concerned. We have an unshackled president who prides himself on not doing any homework. As conservative pundit David Brooks said yesterday – the score after the Kurds were abandoned is Erdogan 56, Trump 0. GOP Senate Leader Mitch McConnell said the following in a editorial in The Washington Post about the grave mistake to withdraw support from the Kurds:

“Withdrawing U.S. forces from Syria is a grave strategic mistake. It will leave the American people and homeland less safe, embolden our enemies, and weaken important alliances. Sadly, the recently announced pullout risks repeating the Obama administration’s reckless withdrawal from Iraq, which facilitated the rise of the Islamic State in the first place.”

I have long believed the US president is a clear and present danger to our democracy, to our planet and to the Republican party. The latter group is beginning to realize that fact. I hope it is not too late. They need to call upon a dose of that political courage of Ms. Yovanovitch and others who are telling the truth knowing a vindictive president will react.

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/ex-special-ops-commander-our-republic-is-under-attack-from-the-president/ar-AAIWxE8?ocid=spartandhp

The Words Of A Wise Man

Fish(y) on Friday

My elementary school would serve fish on Friday, even though we were not a Catholic school. Of course, elementary school cooking would not be confused with haute cuisine.

Adding the letter “y” to fish would lead us to what the US House committees are investigating. Although Republican legislators continue to rationalize the indefensible, the White House is building its own case against the president. It is so fishy, there may be grounds for impeachment by the House and conviction by the Senate.

In other words, if Trump sycophants have the nerve, the evidence for removal of the US president is becoming readily apparent bolstered by testimony and the White House’s own statements.

The latest came from Mick Mulvaney, the Chief of Staff, who announced yesterday there was a quid pro quo with respect to getting help with a debunked conspiracy theory. Then later he said it was the media’s fault for mishearing what he said. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.

Another conservative lawyer group called “Checks and Balances” has joined “Republicans for the Rule of Law” to assert the legitimacy of the impeachment inquiry. We should heed the testimony of the courageous diplomats and staff who have testified under oath knowing the president is a vindictive person. People like Maria Yovanovitch and Fiona Hill are what heroes look like.

As an independent and former Republican, I support the impeachment inquiry. We must get to the bottom of this to confirm if the president abused his powers. There seems to have be an effort to hide this phone call and obstruct the story behind it. Why? Having read the Mueller report, this latest series of events give me concern. We all should be concerned.

Another conservative lawyer group says ‘impeachment is legitimate’

A group of sixteen prominent conservative and libertarian lawyers who formed a group called “Check and Balances” are adding their voice for the rule of law.  In an article by William Cumming in USA Today called “Conservative lawyers: Impeachment is ‘legitimate,’ a group led by George Conway, released a statement which included the following:

“‘We believe the acts revealed publicly over the past several weeks are fundamentally incompatible with the president’s oath of office, his duties as commander in chief, and his constitutional obligation to take care that the laws be faithfully executed.’ They added Trump’s acts formed ‘a legitimate basis for an expeditious impeachment investigation.'”

This announcement is on top of the one reported in the Huffington Post by “Republicans for the Rule of Law.” Per the Huffington Post, “‘Republicans in Congress must condemn this behavior without reservation,’ Chris Truax, a legal adviser for Republicans for the Rule of Law, said in a statement to HuffPost. He continued:
‘It is no longer about whether Republicans believe President Trump or whether they support his policies. It’s about whether they support his admitted abuse of power and his efforts to secure a foreign government’s help in an American election.’”

It is not just Democrats and an increasing number of Independents. A recent survey by The Washington Post and ABC News noted 28% of Republicans support the impeachment proceedings with 18% of Republicans supporting removal of Donald Trump as president.

As other ambassadors testify building on the courage of ousted Ukraine Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch’s testimony under oath, Republican legislators will have a tough decision. It should not be understated that Yovanovitch testified under oath knowing the president is a vindictive person. So, when Trump and his toadies continue to discredit this well-thought-of diplomat who served six presidents, remember it is a crime to lie under oath to Congress.

If that were not enough, two arrests of Rudy Guiliani’s associates were made last week. In addition to campaign finance violations, they also tried to help build a false narrative to oust Yovanovitch. Interesting.

 

A talented person

Below, is an edited version of a letter I forwarded to the USA Today which they graciously improved and used in their Weekend Edition.

“President Donald Trump is a talented person.

It consistently amazes me how the most untruthful president (including Richard Nixon) in my memory can convince his followers that everyone else is lying about him.

His biographers have noted the president has a problem with the truth.

So, on any issue about which Trump denigrates critics saying they are lying, Americans should dig further.

As an independent, I don’t mind people being more conservative or progressive than me on various issues.

What I do mind is when politicians lie or forget what they said earlier pretending as if it never happened.

That practice is especially bad when the person doing it is our president.”

What I found interesting is in the same section of the USA Today, the front page said the two people arrested for campaign finance fraud had dinner in the White House. Why is that important? The president said he did not know these people the day before.

The climate of untruthfulness has become more untethered with the departure of more reasonable voices and as the president has painted himself into a corner with rash decisions and inappropriate actions. His lying as a means of defense seems to have ratcheted up. It will only get worse as more people testify.

 

The day the earth stood still

Monday. October 7, 2019, will be known as the day the earth stood still. It is a tipping point when the Republican party leadership started to realize their leader is a cancer on their party and the country. Many have had their concerns, but more than a few are voicing them now.

Two factors are converging. A second whistleblower has come forward with credible concerns the president may have broken the law. Further, the lawyer for the second said there are multiple whistleblowers not just one more.

The other is the president announcing the abandonment of US support for Kurdish forces in Syria. The Kurds were a key backbone in fighting ISIS. This announcement by an ill-informed person in leadership is bad on many levels. There is bipartisan pushback including from GOP Senate leadership on this move which paints the US in a very poor light. It is so bad, even a Fox and Friends’ host was critical of the president.

I need not get into the continual attacks on the Federal Reserve chair, the announcement of more tariffs on Europe or the prolific attacks on the Bidens and all critics. As Anthony Scaramucci said two months ago, the president is “off the rails.”

And, it will get worse. The president is a wounded animal. His inability to be truthful is worse. His bullying and beligerance is worse. As Fox News host Shep Smith said, the president has committed crimes right in front of our eyes.

The group Republicans for the Rule of Law said the president must be held accountable. Addlng his poor Syria decision to abandon the Kurds, he is also showing his ignorance of issues and allegiances is a danger.

For momths, I have shared my concern the US president is a clear and present danger to our democracy, our planet and his own party. Now, more and more are realizing this. This may not lead to impeachment, but it shows the president’s currency within his party is devalued.

A few quotes from Conservatives need wider coverage

As an independent voter, having been a member of both parties, I seek to find the truth and facts beneath the politics. The tribal nature requires its bellringers to denounce any criticism or facts that get in the way of their winning. The US president does this frequently with his claims of fake news when he does not like what is being said.

What concerns me is we have a president who has a modus operandi of heretofore questionable and dubious behavior to further his personal cause. Yet, the claims of fake news heightened by the narrative it is Democrats that are behind this. What I have observed is an increasing number of conservative voices who are exhibiting greater courage to speak out against actions and words of this president.

Here are a few that resonate with me:

Elsa Alcala, a former Texas judge, decided to leave the Republican party this summer, alienated by Trump’s  latest attacks on Democratic representatives of color, three of whom were born in the United States. “Even accepting that Trump has had some successes (and I believe these are few), at his core, his ideology is racism,” the 55-year-old retired judge wrote Monday in a Facebook post. “To me, nothing positive about him could absolve him of his rotten core,” as reported by The Washington Post.

Republican Senator Chuck Grassley, a long-time defender of whistleblowers and a staunch ally of President Donald Trump, pushed back Tuesday against the president’s call to identify the person who filed a complaint about his July phone call with the Ukrainian president. “This person appears to have followed the whistleblower protection laws and ought to be heard out and protected. We should always work to respect whistleblowers’ requests for confidentiality,” the senior senator from Iowa said in a news release as reported by USA Today.

Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger of Illinois noted in response to the president retweeting a comment by an evangelical minister that a civil war would result if he was impeached. “I have visited nations ravaged by civil war,” the Illinois lawmaker tweeted. “I have never imagined such a quote to be repeated by a President. This is beyond repugnant,” as reported by USA Today.

Chris Truax, legal advisor to Republicans for the Rule of Law noted last week, “Republicans in Congress must condemn this behavior without reservation. It is no longer about whether Republicans believe President Trump or whether they support his policies. It’s about whether they support his admitted abuse of power and his efforts to secure a foreign government’s help in an American election,” said in a statement to Huffington Post.

Nebraska Republican State Senator John McCollister, wrote in an email sent to his supporters, “The Republican Party is enabling white supremacists in our country. As a lifelong Republican, it pains me to say this, but it’s true. I of course am not suggesting that all Republicans are white supremacists, nor am I saying that the average Republican is even racist.”

Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire during Congressional testimony said “I want to stress I believe the whistleblower and the inspector general have acted in good faith throughout.” Maguire also agreed with Texas Democratic Congressman Joaquin Castro’s assertion that the whistleblower’s complaint is “remarkably consistent” with the transcript released by the Trump administration. “I would say that the whistleblower’s complaint is in alignment with what was released by the president yesterday,” Maguire said as reported by Fortune.

Fox News anchor Chris Wallace called out “astonishing” and “deeply misleading” spin from President Donald Trump’s defenders over the whistleblower complaint on his contacts with Ukraine. He also criticized White House advisor Stephen Miller in an interview for Miller’s “obfuscation of the truth.”

Former National Economic Advisor Gary Cohn confessed to two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Bob Woodward in his book “Fear,” saying Trump is a “prodigious liar.”

Former Trump attorney and fixer Michael Cohen said the following under oath to a Congressional committee, “Donald Trump is a racist, he is a con-artist and he is a cheat.”

I am a fiscally conservative and social progressive voter. This is why I have been a member of both parties. I do not mind people being more conservative or progressive than me on issues. What I do care about is focusing on facts and truth.

I share these comments as there has been a purposeful reaction to distract from the truth to protect this president by his supporters. This is in part due to the media reporting everything the president does or says that is not accurate or appropriate. I wish they would focus more on the big lies as we have become inured (and even weary) to the unending inappropriate tweets and comments. Obstructing justice and abusing powers is a big thing.