Letter sent by departing Republican voter to LA Times

The following letter was sent into the LA Times Thursday morning. It speaks volumes and needs no explanation.

“I am a senior citizen who has been a registered Republican as long as I can remember. I am not usually a letter writer, but I felt it important to tell you why I withdrew today from the Republican Party.

“The Republican Party used to be a party of principles and reason. But over the last several years it has supported or winked at lie after lie, including: the birther lie, the ‘very fine people on both sides’ lie, the COVID is a hoax lie, the election was stolen lie, and the insurrection was a peaceful protest lie.

“Now, the party ousts from its House leadership a person who tells the truth. Others in party leadership have become cult leaders, promoting lies for money and power, sucking up to a minority of conspiracy theorists. Our democracy is being destroyed.

“I can no longer be part of a political party that has at its foundation a platform of lies. No other issue really matters. I will never vote for any Republican until the madness is exorcised from the party.”

Attorney General says ‘White supremacist groups pose a rising US threat’

“White supremacist groups pose rising U.S. threat, Garland says” by Mark Hosenball of Reuters is a title that jumped off my browser feed yesterday. Attorney General Merrick Garland said made this comment and he would know based on his past experience prosecuting people.

Here are a few excerpts from the article a link to which is below.

“Domestic violent extremist groups, particularly white supremacists, pose a growing threat to the United States, Attorney General Merrick Garland told a Senate panel on Wednesday.

‘The threat of lethality is higher than it ever was … I have not seen a more dangerous threat to democracy than the invasion of the U.S. Capitol’ by rioters on Jan. 6, said Garland, who as a prosecutor led the investigation into the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing that killed 168 people.

Garland noted the FBI recently said that the top domestic violent extremist threat facing the United States is from ‘racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists, specifically those who advocate for the superiority of the white race.’

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas told the committee that racially or ethnically motivated extremists are ‘most likely to conduct mass-casualty attacks against civilians,’ while people tied to right-wing militia groups are the most likely to target police and government employees and buildings.

I am not going to add anything more to these cautions. They speak for themselves and should give us all pause. We must not condone violence in any way to promote any cause. Full stop.

White supremacist groups pose rising U.S. threat, Garland says (msn.com)

“This is not a difference on positions – it is a difference between truth and lies”

This morning I spoke with a aide for a Republican Congressman to share my concerns over what a shame it is Representative Liz Cheney is being ousted from her position in House leadership in the Republican Party citing my arguments. After he listened to me, he noted I had a right to share my difference on positions.

I said, this is not a difference on positions – it is a difference between truth and lies. I said I do not agree with many of the positions of Liz Cheney, but in this instance she is calling out the former president for his lying and sedition. There is no widespread election fraud and the president invited and incited an insurrection on members of Congress, endangering your boss. That is unforgiveable.

Then, I shared that this is not just my opinion, David Brooks, a conservative pundit said on PBS News Hour just this Friday that “to be a leader in the Republican party, you have to lie.” I did ask him, as an independent and former Republican, what am I supposed to think about all of this? He could not offer me his opinion, which I knew. beforehand, but I wanted to pose the question. It should be noted that Senator Mitt Romney noted that Republicans are not going to gain one vote from this and will lose many.

I closed with sharing we need a viable Republican Party, but right now the party is adrift. In fact, GOP Representative Adam Kinzinger equated the party with a slow-sinking Titanic. I told him I agree with that statement.

“It is like the Titanic”

In an article called “GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger Compares Trump-Mesmerized Republican Party To The Titanic” by Mary Papenfuss of HuffPost, the title says pretty much what one needs to know about the opinions of this Republican who continually calls the former president on the carpet. Kinzinger is one of ten House Republicans to vote to impeach Trump for inciting an insurrection on the Capitol building on January 6.

Per Kinzinger and other truth telling Republicans, he sees what is happening to his party as a death knell. He is particulary amazed how a consistent conservative Republican like Liz Cheney is could be ousted from her #3 Republican position in the House because she had the temerity to call the former president what he is – untruthful and a seditionist.. There was no widespread election fraud and the former president did have a hand in inviting, revving up and siccing rioters on the Capitol endangering members of Congress and the Vice President and his family.

Per the article, which has the subtitle “And Donald Trump is hunting for ‘women’s clothing’ so he can ‘get on the first lifeboat,’ the Illinois lawmaker said,” note the following few paragraphs:

“Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) said Sunday that the sharply divided Republican Party is in a “slow sink,” like the Titanic, doomed by leaders’ stubborn fascination with reelection loser Donald Trump.

‘Right now it’s basically the Titanic. We’re … in the middle of this slow sink,’ he explained on ‘Face the Nation’ on CBS. “We have a band playing on the deck telling everybody it’s fine. And, meanwhile, Donald Trump’s running around trying to find women’s clothing and get on the first lifeboat.

Kinzinger pulled out the Titanic metaphor as he criticized party leaders’ attacks on Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) for blasting Trump for his ‘big lie’ that the presidential election was rigged and for inciting the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.

‘It’s incredible. Liz Cheney is saying exactly what [House Minority Leader] Kevin McCarthy said the day of the insurrection,’ holding Trump accountable for urging the violence, Kinzinger said. ‘A few weeks later, Kevin McCarthy changed to attacking other people.

McCarthy was reportedly rebuffed by the former president on Jan. 6 when he implored Trump to call off the Capitol rioters. McCarthy said later on the House floor that Trump ‘bears responsibility for the attack on Congress by mob rioters.’ Trump ‘should have immediately denounced the mob when he saw what was unfolding,’ he added. McCarthy called then for ‘justice’ and for a ‘censure resolution’ against Trump.

Kinzinger said the Republican Party still needs to have ‘an internal look and a full accounting as to what led to Jan. 6.’ It’s been only four months since the ‘insurrection — something that was unthinkable in this country,’ he noted.

Like Cheney, Senator Mitt Romney and others who voted to impeach or convict the former president, they are on the side of the Angels on this issue. Yet, they are being vilified and threatened for it. That is inexcusable. But, so is what the former president and his partners in crime did on January 6.

GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger Compares Trump-Mesmerized Republican Party To The Titanic | HuffPost

Purging Liz Cheney will purge some GOP voters along as well

It has long been observed by Thomas Wells, an attorney who worked with the former president before he was elected, if you are on Donald Trump’s good side, do not get used to it, as you won’t be there for long. You will not jump high enough or genuflect lowly enough to remain in favor. Republican Congresswoman Liz Cheney long sided with the former president in supporting his actions. Yet, she has the temerity to challenge his lies with respect to the election and call him out for inciting an insurrection against the Capitol.

Yet, the impetus to remove Cheney from her number three position in the Republican caucus, may cause the loss of Republican voters. These voters see Cheney as something the former president and his sycophants are not – a truth teller.

In a Newsweek opinion article called “If Republicans Purge Liz Cheney, They’re Purging Many of Us Voters Along With Her” by Jonathan Frank, he predicts the firing of Cheney will be harmful to the party. Here a re few paragraphs:

Republican House Minority leader Kevin McCarthy said “‘I’ve had it… I’ve lost confidence.’ …McCarthy saved these words for Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), a dutiful, third-term Congresswoman and mother of five who, as Chairwoman of the House Republican Conference, is the lone female in House Republican leadership.

Cheney is a stalwart conservative who voted with President Trump 93 percent of the time, earns an A+ rating from the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List, and is ranked by GovTrack as “most politically right” compared to other members of House Republican leadership. But McCarthy and a chorus of House Republican cannot be bothered with such facts.

Cheney committed the cardinal sin of holding President Trump accountable for the violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on January 6th, a position that McCarthy briefly held himself, before changing course in fearful obedience to the former President.

In January, Cheney joined nine other House Republicans in voting to impeach Trump for his role in the January 6th attack, a move she called a ‘vote of conscience.’ Lest voters think this move reveals Cheney as some sort of secret moderate, her record shows she has continued to vote with House Republicans 95 percent of the time this year.

Still, some House Republicans remain set on purging the lawmaker from her leadership post in the middle of the year, even as they rail against ‘the extreme left’s cancel culture’ and stress ‘party unity’ without the slightest hint of self-awareness. Punchbowl News rightly describes it as ‘unlike anything in modern House GOP internal politics.’

Their preferred pick to succeed Cheney: Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY), a Congresswoman whose recent unyielding devotion to Trump belies a spotty conservative record.

Stefanik earns a failing 43 percent lifetime rating from the American Conservative Union and a similarly lackluster 48 percent lifetime score from Heritage Action for America, compared to Cheney’s scores of 78 and 80 percent respectively. Stefanik also voted against the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, Trump’s signature legislative accomplishment, while Cheney helped secure its passage.

But Stefanik redeemed herself with Trump in late 2019 when she helped lead the former President’s defense in his first impeachment trial. Trump tweeted approvingly that ‘a new Republican star is born.’ With that, the Harvard grad and former George W. Bush administration aide’s transition from pragmatic Republican institutionalist to populist MAGA adherent was complete.

A Republican Party that does not have room for a principled conservative like Liz Cheney does not have room for many of us. In scheming to overthrow her, House Republicans are sending a clear message that support for the former President’s policies is not enough. Meeting the new and ever-changing definition of a true Republican requires one to accept and parrot Trump’s every claim, the truth and the rule of law notwithstanding.”

Or, as conservative pundit David Brooks said on PBS Newshour Friday night, “To be a Republican leader means you have to lie.”

If Republicans Purge Liz Cheney, They’re Purging Many of Us Voters Along With Her | Opinion (msn.com)

Casablanca quotes still resonate in real life

The following post was written abut five years ago, but the real life references still resonate with the quotes. Please share with me your thoughts and overlooked quotes.

One of my favorite movies is “Casablanca” and, from its ranking on the list of greatest movies, I am not alone in my admiration. A love triangle is set in the context of the outset of World War II after Germany took possession of France. But, it is also filled with an interesting plot and characters played by marvelous actors who say some wonderfully written lines primarily written by Julius and Philip Epstein.

In another list of the 100 greatest movie quotes, lines from “Casablanca” appears six times. These and other lines from the movie still resonate today as a reflection of our times. Here are a few from memory, so I will likely misquote them.

We will always have Paris – Rick (Humphrey Bogart) says this a couple of times to Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman) as a reminder of their relationship where they met. To me, this reminds us of our own special places that mean so much, whether it is a love interest or a special time in our lives.

Louie, I think this is the beginning of beautiful friendship – A key subplot is the relationship between Rick and Captain Louie Renault (Claude Rains), which is friendly, but with some distance. When they come together at the end to go fight the Germans, it lifts your spirits to see the two walk off together with a mission and true bond of kinship.

I am shocked, shocked there is gambling going on here – Captain Renault is asked to close Rick’s (a bar) at the behest of Nazi Major Heinrich Strasser (Conradt Veight) and used gambling as the reason, even though it is routine. The line is followed by the pit boss handing him his winnings. This reminds me of politicians, who know or allow a problem to occur, and then act shocked when the problem does occur.

Human life is cheap – This evil line is uttered by Major Strasser and gives me chills. People traveled to Casablanca to get transport to America, but must wait to bribe or pay heavily for papers to get out. This reminds me of the refugees who are being exploited by opportunist to sell them unsafe passage to Europe. Whether they get there is irrelevant.

Round up the usual suspects – This is a key line in the movie that is used often. Captain Renault uses it several times to convey that he is doing something about a crime, but actually is doing nothing. It is also how the writers figured out the ending, which they were struggling with. I find this line is also indicative of politicians who are good at pretending to do something, when they are actually doing nothing. Over 50 repeal votes of Obamacare is too easy an example.

Here’s looking at you kid – Rick, who is older than Ilsa, uses this line to show great affection, usually touching her chin lightly to look into her eyes. It plays an important part in Rick’s journey back. It reminds me of lines we use with each other that mean more than the words themselves. In the movie “Ghost” the line “Ditto” had huge meaning in the plot, e.g.

Play it for me Sam. Play “As Time Goes By” – I probably misquoted this misquoted line from Ilsa, which usually is seen as “play it again Sam.” Sam (Dooley Wilson), who has a velvet voice sings this melancholic song which lilts often through the movie. Like Paris, it reminds the two lovers of better times, as Sam who has always accompanied Rick when he sets up a bar, would play it for the two of them. We each have milestone songs that take us back in time. This may be music’s greatest gift.

Play it. Play La Marseillaise – To me, this is the most powerful moment in the movie. You see first hand the leadership and bravery of Victor Laszlo (Paul Henreid) as he asks the band to play the French national anthem to drown out the Nazi bar singers. In an interview, the Jewish writers said it gave them chill bumps as they wrote it. Leaders like this are few and far between and are much needed, as their quiet fortitude speaks louder than any bombastic chest beater.

Welcome back to the fight – This line is uttered by Victor to Rick as they say goodbye. It is a major moment of recognition of the noble efforts of Rick that are not unnoticed by one who does them all of the time. Today, we need more folks who are willing to speak their mind against tyranny, bigotry, disenfranchisement and hatred.

I realize I left off several key lines for space reasons. I also recognize I left off the contributions of Peter Lorre* and Sidney Greenstreet who added so much color to the movie. Let me know what you think and please share your favorites. As time goes by…

*Note: A very underrated singer/ songwriter is Al Stewart, whose opening stanza to “Year of the Cat” is a reference to Lorre who appeared in a couple of Bogart movies. This is what I remember most about Lorre in Casablanca.

“On a morning from a Bogart movie
In a country where they turn back time
You go strolling through the crowd like Peter Lorre
Contemplating a crime”

Words of a caution about a ‘deformed party’ construct

The following is an excerpt from an article called Trump’s Big Lie Devoured the G.O.P. and Now Eyes Our Democracyby one of my favorite authors and columnists, Pulitzer Prize winner, Thomas Friedman. Friedman wrote “The World is Flat” and “That Used to be Us: How America fell behind in the world it created and how it can come back.” A link to the article in Jill’s post “We are not okay” can be found below.

” Here is what Representative Anthony Gonzalez, one of the few Republicans who voted to impeach Trump, told The Hill about the campaign within the party to oust Representative Liz Cheney from her House G.O.P. leadership position, because of her refusal to go along with the Big Lie:

“’f a prerequisite for leading our conference is continuing to lie to our voters, then Liz is not the best fit. Liz isn’t going to lie to people. … She’s going to stand on principle.

Think about that for a second. To be a leader in today’s G.O.P. you either have to play dumb or be dumb on the central issue facing our Republic: the integrity of our election. You have to accept everything that Trump has said about the election — without a shred of evidence — and ignore everything his own attorney general, F.B.I. director and election security director said — based on the evidence — that there was no substantive fraud.

What kind of deformed party will such a dynamic produce? A party so willing to be marinated in such a baldfaced lie will lie about anything, including who wins the next election and every one after that.

Another favorite conservative pundit Michael Gerson said it more bluntly about the Republican leaders who support this path forward. He said you either have to be a “sucker or a liar” to be a leader in the new GOP. The Democrats are not perfect and, while I agree on many of their policies, not all curry my support. Yet, the Democrats are at least discussing issues while the GOP is just adrift supporting the most deceitful, corrupt and seditious president in my lifetime, including Richard Nixon.

Republicans are being lied to by its so-called leadership. The sad fact is the leaders know they are lying and simply are looking to get away with it. Do Democrats lie? Yes, but the party currency is not deceit which apparently is what matters to the GOP more than anything. We need a viable GOP, but this one is headed down a dark alley.

We Are Not Okay | Filosofa’s Word (jilldennison.com)

GOP Congresswoman Liz Cheney notes Republicans are at a ‘turning point’

I do not agree with several of the positions of Republican Representative Liz Cheney. Cheney, but she remains a hero to me and should to Americans and her own party, even though they are trying to oust her from her caucus leadership post. Why is she a hero? She is a truth teller in her party, but is getting vilified for daring to call out the former president for his untruthfulness and danger to our democracy. This sad affair speaks volumes about what is important in the party.

Cheney wrote an op-ed in The Washington Post which is reported on by Ben Leonard in an article called “Cheney doubles down in op-ed, says Republicans are at a ‘turning point (see below for a link).

Here a few paragraphs that give you the gist of her points.

“‘The Republican Party is at a turning point, and Republicans must decide whether we are going to choose truth and fidelity to the Constitution,” the Wyoming Republican wrote in the op-ed. “History is watching. Our children are watching. We must be brave enough to defend the basic principles that underpin and protect our freedom and our democratic process’

In the op-ed, Cheney slammed Trump and said she would continue to do so ‘no matter what the short-term political consequences might be.

‘We must be brave enough to defend the basic principles that underpin and protect our freedom and our democratic process,’ Cheney wrote.

In the op-ed, she also called for Republicans to support the Justice Department’s investigations into the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol and renewed her calls for a bipartisan, 9/11-style fact-finding commission with subpoena power and no current members of Congress participating.

She also called on the party to move away from the ‘dangerous and anti-democratic Trump cult of personality.

It should be noted, the editorial board of the Wall Street Journal has defended Cheney and recommended she not be removed from her seat. Senator Joni Ernst of Iowa, a Trump supporter, also supported Cheney’s right to remain in her position. And, conservative pundit Michael Gerson even went further saying to be loyal to this kind of Republican party that would vilify truth tellers means leaders are either “suckers or liars.”

But, to me a question that I want answered by MAGA supporters and other Republicans who support Trump is the following. Liz Cheney and others have spoken out against the deceitful and seditious actions of the former president knowing they would be vilified and get death threats. Yet, they did it anyway and still are. Now, why would they do that? The answer is “political courage.”

Cheney doubles down in op-ed, says Republicans are at a ‘turning point’ (msn.com)

The Big Lie has been Altered in Orwellian Fashion

This piece of news gave me a chuckle, but made me sad as it is an attempt to take advantage of the gullibility of followers. For those of who still pay attention to the machinations of the most recent former president, apparently, he does not care for the term “The Big Lie” to define his planned and staged deceitful efforts to call the outcome of the 2020 election into question.

In my view, the reason is it aptly describes his attempts to convey this message of election fraud are untruthful. This is evidenced by his inability to prove in court or get even Republican election officials to say what he wants them to say. My favorite pushback came from his own Attorney General William Barr, who told him in a group meeting that “his claims of election fraud are b*lls**t.” This of course got the AG forced out in a few days.

Now, with an Orwellian flair from the novel “1984,” the former president has repurposed the term “The Big Lie” to mean the election was stolen, not that he is trying to steal it. So, the former president has, in fact, stolen the counterpoint slogan for his own purpose. So, when his followers here the term “The Big Lie,” they will be confused or think the person is siding with the former president’s untruthful ploy.

I used “1984” as a key point of the novel is disinformation. As an example, there are three world powers, with the country the protagonist supports allying with one of the other two against the third. Midway through the book, the alliance shifts, so that enemy is now allied with his country against the former ally. The totalitarian government uses disinformation to convey that this was happening all along and there was no change.

Think of that when you see what the former president just did. He does not like the term “The Big Lie” being pointed at him, so he appropriates the term in an attempt to tell his followers The Big Lie is the election was not stolen. The Big Lie is too on point as the former president is following his modus operandi of deceitful behavior. So, it must be dealt with.

In a nutshell, this is why the former president does not warrant a lot of trust. He has not earned it. So, I will side with AG Barr on this one.

My browser seems like a gossip column with the tribal BS – where is the news?

With all of the tribal BS going on, the folks who are supposed to report on the news seem to spend a lot of time correcting others. It has grown commonplace for very biased sources to make things up and watch the more legitimate news sources report on the lack of veracity of the biased source. To be honest,, news reports of the lack of veracity of some opinion hosts is not really news to me.

It should be noted this is all by design, as it gets people talking about nothing important overlooking the fact that things are not getting done. The other unfortunate objective is to discredit the whole news process. If sources with lots of followers lie often, and more reputable news sources get caught in a lie, it defames the news credibility. We just witnessed almost six years of a former candidate and president routinely claim that all negative news about him was “fake news.” Just because he said it was fake, did not necessarily mean it was not true.

But, this also impacts other politicians. As a group, politicians are not known for their truthfulness. And, some are well known for not being consistently truthful. This former candidate called an opponent “Lyin’ Ted” and was not far from the truth, yet he failed to look in the mirror when he made the accusation. Sadly, if a politican says something, check other sources. The body politic has earned this requirement.

So, if I see things in my browser that are he said/ she said stuff, I pass. Nowadays, if I see a picture of the former president who is not known for his veracity, I pass. The same goes for certain opinion hosts and politicians, as their words are usually less than truthful, so I pass.