A disgusting lack of leadership

The following are the views of a former Republican and now Independent voter. I did not vote for the former president either time and remain puzzled why people would vote for such a well-documented untruthful, egomaniacal bully.

On Friday, I read that Senator Mitch McConnell would support the seditious former president if he were the 2024 presidential nominee. Note, this is after McConnell denounced the former president for his role in the insurrection against a branch of government, which of course, put McConnell and his colleagues in danger. And, unsurprisingly, Mr. McConnell chose not to vote to convict the former president before he admitted said person was guilty.

This is a disgusting lack of leadership in a country that needs this party to help offer some form leadership. But, as of this writing, people who voted as leaders to impeach or convict the seditious former president, have been vilified, censured and threatened. Yet, these seventeen folks knew this going in and voted to impeach or convict anyway. That is leadership. What Messers. McConnell, Graham, Hawley, Paul, Cruz, McCarthy, Scalise, Gaetz, Gohmert, et al have done is cowardice and sycophancy to someone who almost caused their deaths.

Reading McConnell’s statement in support of a traitor is seditious in its own right, in my view. This former president planned and staged a big lie about rampant election fraud. And, too many Republican so-called leaders were silent. The former president set the stage for the insurrection through his lies, that even his Attorney General labeled as “bulls**t” before he was fired for so saying. Republican election officials and judges even pushed back on the former president’s lies, yet they also got death threats.

Our country needs two viable political parties or more. Yet, we need the people in leadership positions in these parties to be leaders and not sycophants. The seditious former president is the most corrupt and deceitful president in my lifetime including Richard Nixon. I have been pleading with Republican Senators for three years asking what will it take to hold this former president accountable. Apparently, even traitorism does not qualify.

The former president was right when he said he could shoot someone on 5th Avenue and it would not matter. What he did not say is he would hand the gun to McConnell and blame him. Our country deserves better than this.

The quotable John Adams

Per Wikipedia, “John Adams (October 30, 1735 – July 4, 1826) was an American statesman, attorney, diplomat, writer, and Founding Father who served as the second president of the United States, from 1797 to 1801. Before his presidency, he was a leader of the American Revolution that achieved independence from Great Britain, and he served as the first vice president of the United States. Adams was a dedicated diarist and regularly corresponded with many important figures in early American history, including his wife and adviser Abigail Adams and Thomas Jefferson.”

Since he was prolific as a writer and thought leader, Adams left us with many quotes to demonstrate his thought process in context of such an important part of our history. Here are only a few courtesy of “The Quotable John Adams” edited by Randy Howe.

“I am a mortal and irreconcilable enemy to monarchy.”

“My fundamental maxim of government is never to trust the lamb to the wolf.”

“You ask, how has it happened that all Europe has acted on the principle, ‘that Power was Right’…..Power always sincerely, conscientiously….believes itself right. Power must never be trusted without a check.”

“The substance and essence of Christianity, as I understand it, is eternal and unchangeable, and will bear examination forever, but it has been mixed with extraneous ingredients, and they ought to be separated.”

“Old minds are like old horses; you must exercise them if you wish to keep them in working order.”

Is there no way for two friendly souls to converse together, although the bodies are 400 miles off. Yes, by letter. But, I want a better communication. I want to hear you think, or to see your thoughts.” (note from one of many letters to his wife and best friend Abigail).

“I cannot be, I know, nor do I wish to see you, an inactive spectator….We have too many high sounding words, and too fee actions that correspond with them.”

“I am more and more convinced that man is a dangerous creature; and that power, whether vested in many or a few, is ever grasping, and like the grave, cries ‘Give, give!'”

The above covers concern over power to a limited few, to the need for separation of church and state, to admonitions of the need to have a thirst for learning. HBO did an excellent mini-series on Adams derived from the many letters between John, played by Paul Giamatti, Abigail, played by Laura Linney.

The most impactful part of the mini-series is when John impressed his more rambunctious cousin Samuel Adams that the rule of law is important. This came to a head when John defended in court some British troops who had been unfairly accused of killing some rabble rousers before the American Revolution. Samuel wanted them to hang, but John said they must get a fair trial.

Doing things the right way matters. The rule of law matters. Even in times of strife.

Censuring Republicans who voted to impeach or convict – a sample letter to the editor

I sent the following letter to my local newspaper after seeing that the North Carolina state Republican Party may censure Senator Richard Burr for voting to convict the seditious former president. This follows on similar votes executed or planned in other states to censure the likes of Representative Liz Cheney, Senator Ben Sasse, Senator Pat Toomey and Senator Bill Cassidy and maybe the others. Please feel free to adapt and use. I hope they print it.

Two thoughts pop into my head about the state Republican parties that are censuring Republicans who voted to impeach or convict the seditious former president. Each time they take aim at one of them, it gives them the chance to repeat their resolve into why the former president is a traitor. Which leads me to my second thought. Being a traitor and causing the death of now seven people by consistently lying and inciting an insurrection is not worth censuring, but telling said traitor they do not approve of that behavior is. There is something terribly wrong with this picture. Burr, Cheney, Murkowski, et al are the real heroes who knew beforehand they would get backlash, yet did it anyway.

Seven heroes with political courage was not enough

The former president was not convicted of high crimes and misdemeanors by the Senate with the votes falling short of the needed two-thirds. But, please note that 57 Senators voted for conviction of the former president, with only 43 voting no. That means seven Republican Senators voted on the right side of history in this independent and former Republican voter’s view.

Those seven deserve high praise for their courage as they will get push back and even death threats for voting their conscience. And, they knew that beforehand.

These seven members of the Republican caucus are as follows:

Richard Burr of North Carolina

Bill Cassidy of Louisiana

Susan Collins of Maine

Lisa Murkowski of Alaska

Mitt Romney of Utah

Ben Sasse of Nebraska

Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania

Whether you agree with their policy decisions, please acknowledge their political courage. Representative Liz Cheney from Wyoming almost lost a key leadership role in the House Republican caucus because she was one of ten Republicans to vote to impeach the former president. And, as evidence of her grit, she told Chris Wallace on Fox this past Sunday, that the former president has been lying to Republicans.

I have sent thank you notes to these ten Republican representatives and now seven senators for their courage. I encourage you to do the same, as they will certainly hear from the vindictive former president and his sycophants.

It should be noted the former president’s legal troubles will continue as he is being investigated for trying to coerce an official in Georgia to alter the outcome of that election. Note, this is after two recounts proved he lost. And, he has some financial issues he is dealing with in courts in New York.

In the view of this former Republican and independent, just because the former president did not get convicted, does not mean he is innocent. What is sad, some of those who voted to acquit know this and told reporters off the record they are glad this footage is getting out.

Former ambassador under Trump says the former president has no future in the GOP

Nikki Haley, the former United Nations ambassador appointed by the former president, rebukes her former boss in a very public manner. To me, the number of folks who are realizing it is more than OK to call out the deceitful former president is starting to pick up steam, irrespective of what happens in the impeachment trial.

Here are a few paragraphs from a piece called “Nikki Haley criticizes Trump and says he has no future in the GOP” by Veronica Stracqualursi of CNN. The full article can be linked to below.

“Former US ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley directly criticized former President Donald Trump for his involvement stoking the US Capitol riot in a new interview, a notable condemnation from someone who is widely viewed as harboring presidential hopes in a party that is still in thrall to Trump.

‘We need to acknowledge he let us down,’ she told Politico magazine in an interview published Friday. ‘He went down a path he shouldn’t have, and we shouldn’t have followed him, and we shouldn’t have listened to him. And we can’t let that ever happen again.’

Haley has often attempted to walk a fine line between allying herself with Trump — who remains a hugely popular figure within the party — while distancing herself enough to appeal to his Republican and moderate critics. She notably left his administration in 2018 on good terms with Trump, a contrast to many other officials who have publicly fallen out with their former boss.

In the Politico piece, Haley expressed anger over Trump’s treatment of former Vice President Mike Pence on January 6 and said she hasn’t spoken with Trump since then. Trump attacked Pence on Twitter that day for doing his duty of presiding over Congress’ counting of the Electoral College votes, as the mob of supporters broke into the Capitol hoping to stop the certification, some of whom chanted death threats against Pence.

‘When I tell you I’m angry, it’s an understatement,’ Haley told Politico. ‘Mike has been nothing but loyal to that man. He’s been nothing but a good friend of that man. … I am so disappointed in the fact that [despite] the loyalty and friendship he had with Mike Pence, that he would do that to him. Like, I’m disgusted by it.'”

To me, these words are relevant, but tardy. I feel there has been a calculation weighing the efficacy of finally condemning the former president. I think it follows on the courage of folks like Representatives.Liz Cheney, Adam KInzinger and the other eight Republicans who voted to impeach Trump, as well as Senators like Ben Sasse, Mitt Romney and a few others who voted to hear the impeachment trial.

Nonetheless, what Haley is saying is powerful. It also reveals we are beyond the tipping point on the former president. It is OK to speak the truth and call him on the carpet for his deceit and sedition. Stick a fork in him, he is done.

Nikki Haley criticizes Trump and says he has no future in the GOP (msn.com)

Three former Republican Senators say the former president should face accountability

The following opinion was written by three former Republican Senators, David Durenberger, Larry Pressler and Gordon Humphrey as reported by CNN called “3 former GOP senators: Trump should not escape accountability on a technicality” Most of the opinion can be found below, but a link follows at the bottom.

“Former president Donald Trump incited an insurrection and has faced little consequence for it so far. As such, senators must take on their constitutional duty to sit as impartial jurors in the impeachment trial, regardless of any lingering concerns — unfounded we believe — that the process is unconstitutional.

When the House of Representatives voted to impeach then-President Trump on January 13, by a bipartisan vote of 232 to 197, those voting to impeach knew it was unlikely that the Senate would be able to hold a full trial before Trump left office. However, both Democratic and Republican members of Congress understood that no president, regardless of political party, should be let off the hook for inciting an insurrection against a coequal branch of government, especially as it was convening to conduct its constitutional duty in certifying the Electoral College count.

These members recognized that both Trump’s urgings to protesters to “fight like hell” before the Capitol was breached, and his lack of meaningful action during the six hours it took to restore order, were unacceptable — and that he needed to be held accountable. House members rose to the occasion, honoring their oath and respecting the process despite the unfavorable calendar. It’s time for the Senate to do the same.

The consequence of not holding a trial because a president has left office would send the message that any official in government could escape accountability simply by committing impeachable offenses just before the end of their term.

An impeachment trial isn’t just about removal from office — which in this case we acknowledge is moot. Rather, the trial offers Congress the ability to hold a president accountable for his actions and can lead to a vote on the disqualification from holding federal office again. To put it simply, the impeachment process could signal that officials cannot repeat Trump’s misdeeds in the future without facing serious consequences.

This is why, as former Republican senators, we were disappointed and worried by the 45 Republican senators who voted in favor of a point of order challenging the trial’s constitutionality after being sworn in to “do impartial justice.” Congress should not shirk its duty to act as a check on abuse of power from the executive branch.

And we aren’t alone. The nonpartisan Congressional Research Service writes that, ‘most scholars who have closely examined the question have concluded that Congress has authority to extend the impeachment process to officials who are no longer in office.’ Moreover, more than 150 legal scholars across the political spectrum recently signed an open letter concluding, ‘that the Constitution permits the impeachment, conviction, and disqualification of former officers, including presidents.’ The letter included the co-founder and other members of the conservative legal group, the Federalist Society.”

There is truly not much to add to this. I concur with its conclusions and reasons therefor.

3 former GOP senators: Trump should not escape accountability on a technicality (Opinion) (msn.com)

Argue facts or process

This week will be the second impeachment trial in the Senate for the now former president. And, it will the second trial with a pre-ordained outcome. Sixty-seven Senators need to vote to convict the former president, but with forty-five Republicans voting that the trial should not be held, the outcome is already known. The former president will likely get 55 or so votes to convict him, but short of the necessary total, so he will be acquitted.

Yet, as with the first trial, being acquitted does not mean he is innocent. In fact, based on the testimony from the first House impeachment case, in the view of many, he is guilty of extorting Ukraine for personal gain. But, the Senate trial called no witnesses with Republican leadership calling it a sham, a witch hunt. To be frank, many honorable diplomats and staff testified at great risk over their concerns knowing the inevitable – they would lose their jobs. But, they did it anyway. Why?

Now, since the case is overwhelming against the former president, the forty-five Republican Senators are arguing process, saying that you should not try a person out of office. Many experts disagree with this statement and it should be noted, the former president was impeached by the House while being president. But, this is an age old legal tactic. If the facts favor your case, argue the facts; if the facts do not favor your case, argue against the process. If neither do, then game the system. In the first trial, no witnesses were called.

The former president continues to harp on a planned and staged fraudulent claim of voter fraud going back six months before the election. He defamed the mail-in process, hobbled the post office, he pushed Republican led state legislators to restrict the mail-in process, his campaign hired 1,000 attorneys around the country and he told his voters to vote in person knowing those votes would be counted first. And, with pockets of minor fraud examples, real or contrived by conspiracy-minded sources, he now believes his own BS, which is not unusual for him. Yet, 59 out of 60 judges do not, nor do election officials or the US AG.

So, he fueled the idea of voter fraud and the election was stolen from him, an action which was predicted four years ago by his five biographers. I am not prescient, but after reading about the 1,000 attorneys, I wrote in September that the former president will sue to avoid losing. The now former president invited zealous fans to Washington on January 6 to disrupt the electoral college confirmation. He then revved the groups up with a speech (with others) and pointed them at the capitol building. To say, as he and his sycophants have, that he had no hand in the violence is just untrue. As his niece Mary wrote, her uncle will burn it all down to avoid losing.

The facts played out right in front of us. This former president acted in a seditious manner inciting an insurrection. Yes, he will be acquitted, but he is by no means innocent.

Representative Adam Kinzinger: GOP colleagues have thanked me for speaking out against Trump

In an article by Jordan Williams of The Hill called “Kinzinger: GOP colleagues have thanked me for speaking out against Trump,” it is revealed that, silently, Representative Adam Kinzinger has more support for his speaking out against the seditious acts of the former president. The Illinois Republican has served ten years following his Air Force service. So, he took two oaths to our constitution.

A few paragraphs follow, with a link to the entire article below.

“Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) says some of his GOP colleagues have thanked him for speaking out against former President Trump over the past few weeks.

Kinzinger, a staunch critic of Trump, was one of 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach him for inciting the Jan. 6 riots at the Capitol that led to five deaths and over 100 arrests.

‘Well, there’s been backlash, you know. … Within the party base, there’s some, of course you know, as we’d expect. There’s also been a whole lot of outpouring from people that [said] ‘thanks for saying it,” he said on ‘The View’ on Wednesday. ‘I’ve heard it, even amongst my colleagues: ‘Thanks for speaking up.”

‘What it comes down to is maybe there’s backlash and maybe there’s not. But putting your career on the line when we’re going out and asking young people to be willing to fight and die to defend this country – being willing to give your career up to defend that same cause, that fidelity to the Constitution, is a small price to pay,’ he added.”

Kinzinger and Representative Liz Cheney are getting a lot of backlash from the MAGA base. Let me add a couple of thoughts for seasoning. First, Kinzinger served in the military, while the former president did not. As a result, Kinzinger swore to defend the constitution long before being elected to represent Illinois. Second, it takes a lot of courage to stand up against a vindictive person who keeps lists of people who oppose him and punishes them.*

Yet, like Cheney and the other eight Republican House members who voted to impeach the former president (while he was still president), he is getting a full measure of backlash of people who believe the well-documented untruthful former president. Oaths matter. Should not Kinzinger get more respectful consideration of his position? If someone gets vilified for kneeling during the national anthem, should not someone who fought for that flag get a modicum of credit?

*This assertion comes from two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Bob Woodward’s book “Fear” which quotes a Republican representative who saw such a list on the former president’s desk.

Kinzinger: GOP colleagues have thanked me for speaking out against Trump (msn.com)

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You might be a conspiracy parrot

Comedian Jeff Foxworthy is famous for his “you might be a redneck” bit making fun of himself and people he has observed. Using the pacing of his bit, please consider the following regarding conspiracy parrots.

-If you believe Jewish space lasers are causing wildfires, then you might be a conspiracy parrot.
-If you believe that 27 people were not killed at Sandy Hook, then you might be a conspiracy parrot.
-If you believe the Parkland High School shooting was a hoax, then you might be a conspiracy parrot.
-If you believe the former president won the election and it was stolen from him, you might be a conspiracy parrot.
-If you believe the former president did not invite and incite violence on the capitol building, you might be a conspiracy parrot.
-If you believe Hillary Clinton was running a child pornography ring from a pizza parlor in DC, then you might be a conspiracy parrot.

These themes are bounced around the popular conspiracy platforms. It should be noted the Sandy Hook hoax concept was used like a hammer by Alex Jones of Infowars. He lost a lawsuit for bringing mental anguish to the loved ones of victims. It should be also noted a North Carolina man is in jail for believing the child pornography story showing up at a pizza parlor armed and dangerous.

And, numerous people have been arrested for storming the capitol building on January 6 after buying into the former president’s BS about the election. The full word BS was used by the Attorney General William Barr to define the former president’s bogus claims to his face.

Truthteller ridiculed more than conspiracy parrot

Truthtellers are not of great value to the Republican party. It seems an allegiance to parroting inane conspiracy theories has more currency. In support of this contention, Jason Lemon of Newsweek wrote the following piece “Chris Wallace Calls Out Republicans for ‘More Visible Outrage’ at Cheney Than at Greene” which incredulously frames how low the new Trump party had fallen. “Fox News Sunday anchor Chris Wallace called out Republican lawmakers for showing ‘more visible outrage’ at GOP Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming for voting to impeach former President Donald Trump than at Georgia’s freshman GOP Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene‘s promotion of bizarre conspiracy theories. Some pro-Trump Republicans in the House of Representatives have called for Cheney’s removal from her No. 3 leadership position as chair of the House Republican Conference following her January 13 impeachment vote. Meanwhile, few GOP lawmakers have expressed public outrage following multiple reports on Greene’s past promotion of unfounded conspiracy theories and support for violence against fellow lawmakers on social media.  ‘You’ve got a situation right now where there is more visible outrage inside the GOP over Liz Cheney, a member of [Republican] leadership voting to impeach the [former] president over—rather than some of these wild conspiracy theories being espoused by Marjorie Taylor Greene,’ Wallace pointed out during his show Sunday. He suggested that Republicans should take action against Greene and asked whether she should potentially be expelled from Congress or removed from committees.  ‘What are their options here?’ Wallace asked panelist Susan Page, the Washington bureau chief for USA Today. ‘I think it tells you a lot about where the Republican Party is right now,’ Page responded. GOP House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy plans to have a meeting with Greene regarding her incendiary social media posts and bizarre claims. ‘These comments are deeply disturbing and Leader McCarthy plans to have a conversation with the Congresswoman about them,’ Mark Bednar, a spokesperson for McCarthy, told Axios last week. Representative Adam Kinzinger, an Illinois Republican who joined the nine other House Republicans in voting to impeach Trump, said Sunday that he’d support removing Greene from committee assignments, but he pushed back against expelling her from Congress altogether.”  Note, Senator Mitch McConnell aired some comments this morning calling Greene a “cancer” on the Republican party. McConnell’s comments are welcome, but they are somewhat forced being this late with respect to Greene. And, he was too calculating in any criticism of the former president when Trump parroted inane conspiracy theories along with his usual lies. I read McConnell took the former president’s election fraud claims not seriously, as a vacuum was left by Republicans refusing to call out the former president. Quite simply, when you do not stand up to a bully or let lies stand without pushback, the bullying and lying will continue. Rep. Liz Cheney and others did, but they are being vilified by the mob. Guess what – the former president continues to do both. Chris Wallace Calls Out Republicans for ‘More Visible Outrage’ at Cheney Than at Greene (msn.com)