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.

Exodus of Republicans

In an article yesterday by Jason Lange and Andy Sullivan of Reuters called “Analysis: Exodus of Republican voters tired of Trump could push party further right,” the departures away from the now Trump party are growing. Here are a few paragraphs, with a link to the article below.

A surge of Republicans quitting the party to renounce Donald Trump after the deadly Capitol riot could hurt moderates in next year’s primaries, adding a capstone to Trump’s legacy as president: A potentially lasting rightward push on the party.

More than 68,000 Republicans have left the party in recent weeks in Florida, Pennsylvania and North Carolina, crucial states for Democrats’ hopes of keeping control of Congress in the mid-term elections in 2022, state voter data shows. That’s about three times the roughly 23,000 Democrats who left their party in the same states over the same time period.

Compared to the Republicans who stayed put, those who fled were more concentrated in the left-leaning counties around big cities, which political analysts said suggested moderate Republicans could be leading the defections.

If the exodus is sustained, it will be to the advantage of candidates in the Republican Party’s nomination contests who espouse views that play well with its Trump-supporting base but not with a broader electorate.

That could make it harder for Republican candidates to beat Democrats in November, said Morris Fiorina, a political scientist at Stanford University.

‘If these voters are leaving the party permanently, it’s really bad news for Republicans, Fiorina said.

Most of the defectors switched to having no party affiliation or joined a minor political party, though many registered as Democrats, according to publicly available voter registration data that is regularly updated by states….

Diana Hepner, 76, a retired attorney in Florida’s Nassau County near Jacksonville, described herself as a fiscal conservative who was turned off by Trump’s rhetoric.

‘I hung in there with the Republican Party thinking we could get past the elements Trump brought,’ she said. ‘Jan. 6 was the straw that broke the camel’s back.’

Hepner, who joined the Democratic Party, hopes she can be a centrist influence on its nomination contests.

The above should be a clarion call to those who now call the Trump party home. Yet, these calls and others made by Republicans pushing back on the seditious former president, have been largely written off by the MAGA base. At some point, there must be reckoning.

While I firmly believe the former president’s political career is over, his influence will remain. As long as the party base buys into the conspiracy and lies he (and his sycophants) peddles, he will have a voice. As I have noted before, the best thing to do about the former president is to ignore him.

Analysis: Exodus of Republican voters tired of Trump could push party further right (msn.com)

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.

Quite simply the attack on the Capitol building would not have happened if Trump were not president

Sometimes, the simplest comment can say so much. Yesterday, on the talk show “The View,” attorney Sunny Hostin said the above title. The attack on the Capitol building on January 6 would not have happened had the president not been Donald J. Trump. And, now seven people are dead and others might have been, except for the bravery of those to escort legislators out of harm’s way.

Two major comments needs to be stated clearly. First, the argument that Republican Senators are using to prevent a vote from occurring that the trial is unconstitutional does not hold water. In essence, it says a president can commit the most vile crime against the country as long as he does it right before he or she leaves office.

Second, the fact is the former president did commit a vile act two weeks before leaving office, staging and inciting an insurrection on another branch of government. Words matter. Lies matter. The former president’s egomaniacal nature prevents him from accepting he lost the election. He staged this action for many months before the election, so what he did following it was predictable and predicted.

What happened was shameful for our country. What happened could have been even worse. And, what happened was provoked and incited by the enfant terrible acting former president. In your best toddler’s voice, say out loud the words of the president. “I didn’t lose. I won by a lot. It was stolen from me.”

The former president needs to be convicted because he is guilty as charged. This would not have happened if he was not in the equation. This would not have happened if the former president was not a big baby who cannot take losing. Seven people are dead because of Trump. His VP Mike Pence could have been. The Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi could have been. And, anyone in business attire could have been.

A final thought for Republican Senators is a vote to acquit does not serve the former Republican, now Trump party well. It puts those Senators and the Trump party on the wrong side of history. The vote to acquit is not defensible as Senator Rand Paul found out when Fox News host Chris Wallace grilled him on it.

There is a truism I have observed over the years about the former president. If you fly to close to Donald Trump, you will get burned.

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)

“Weak stuff from weak kneed senators” per The Charlotte Observer

I have been writing to and about the five Republican Senators and ten Representatives who have voted to hold the former president accountable for his causing and inciting an insurrection on the US Capitol Building. The five people that died equal the number of courageous Republican Senators who voted their conscience and not out of loyalty to a deceitful former president.

The Editorial Board of The Charlotte Observe wrote a piece this morning about the lack of courage of the two North Carolina Senators called “The weak reasons Sens. Burr and Tills are meek about impeachment.” A few paragraphs follow, but the entire editorial can be linked to below.

North Carolina’s two Republican U.S. senators voted Tuesday – fortunately without success – against the Senate holding a trial on the impeachment of former President Donald Trump.

No surprise there. Sen. Richard Burr and Sen. Thom Tillis are party stalwarts who rarely go against their tribe. According to the website FiveThirtyEight, Burr and Tillis voted in accord with Trump’s position nine times out of 10. Still, it’s stunning to see the senators’ party loyalty blot out their conscience in the case of a president charged with inciting an insurrection that stormed into their own chamber.

On the day of the mob’s attack on the U.S. Capitol, Burr said that Trump was guilty of ‘promoting the unfounded conspiracy theories that have led to this point.” Tillis more vaguely asserted: ”It’s a national disgrace to have a mob attacking Capitol Police and engaging in anarchy. This is not what America stands for.

But the senators’ righteousness of Jan. 6 has dissipated like yesterday’s tear gas. Now they offer thin justifications for skipping a trial of the president whose false claim of a stolen election – a claim he still maintains – fueled the attack on the Capitol. Burr says let the Justice Department decide if charges are merited. Tillis says impeachment is intended only for removal, not a reckoning after a president departs.

This is weak stuff from weak-kneed senators. Virtually all impeachments of presidents and other federal office holders – some of whom had left office – have involved a trial. Why would this case, based the most serious of impeachment charges, not merit a full hearing and vote by the Senate? It’s one thing to vote to acquit Trump after a trial. It’s an abdication of duty to say the American people should not even hear the evidence.

Our elected officials need to be among our better angels, not represent our worst demons. This former president planned and staged his fraudulent voter fraud claims well ahead of the election. He continued to lie and was aided by too many sycophants even in the face of his embarassing inability to prove alleged fraud. He wound up the extreme part of his base and encouraged them to come to DC on the day Congress was to approve the electoral college. He then wound them up some more and pointed these tin soldiers at the Capitol building.

Make no mistake, this former president has a heavy hand in what happened, but as per usual, he declares nothing bad is his fault. The Senators and Representatives who decided not to hold him accountable, or at least hear such evidence, should think that they are fortunate to be alive to make such a vote. Their fearless leader “sicced” his tin soldiers onto them and more people could have gotten hurt.

In my view, what the former president did is unforgivable. And, he should be held accountable.

In trial vote, Sens. Burr and Tillis put party before country | Charlotte Observer

Dr. Fiona Hill cautions all on civil unrest fomented by the outgoing president

Dr. Fiona Hill is one of the most credible public servants who risked a great deal by testifying of her concerns regarding the coercion of Ukraine to benefit the president.* In an article called “Former Trump official Fiona Hill: ‘President’s actions have put us on the brink of civil war'” by Justine Coleman of The Hill, she cautions of more civil unrest. Here are a few paragraphs along with a link below.

Former Trump National Security Council member Fiona Hill on Monday said that President Trump’s ‘actions have put us on the brink of civil war’ after pro-Trump rioters stormed the Capitol last week.

Hill, who served as the senior director for European and Russian affairs on the National Security Council, called the Capitol raid a “coup” in a Politico op-ed, saying that a coup does not need to be a ‘sudden, violent seizure of power involving clandestine plots and military takeovers.

‘Trump disguised what he was doing by operating in plain sight, talking openly about his intent,’ she said. ‘He normalized his actions so people would accept them. I’ve been studying authoritarian regimes for three decades, and I know the signs of a coup when I see them.’

The former Trump official said Trump’s efforts to stay in power during his presidency amounted to a ‘self-coup’ that was ultimately unsuccessful. But she noted ‘the bad news is that his supporters still believe the false narrative’ that the president won reelection after he and other Republicans have promoted unfounded claims that widespread voter fraud led to his loss.

Trump has not repudiated it, nor have the House and Senate Republicans who voted against the Electoral College results, she wrote. ‘Millions of people still think the election was stolen. They still support Trump the person, not the Republican Party, and many are prepared to take further action on his behalf.

‘As in the case of other coup attempts, the president’s actions have put us on the brink of civil war,’ Hill continued. ‘Trump did not overturn the election results, but, just as he intended, he disrupted the peaceful democratic transition of executive power.’

Her voice is one of experience and reason. She needs to be listened to by all, but especially Republicans in position of leadership.

Former Trump official Fiona Hill: ‘President’s actions have put us on the brink of civil war’ (msn.com)

*Per Wikpedia, Fiona Hill is a British-American foreign affairs specialist and academic. She is a former official at the U.S. National Security Council specializing in Russian and European affairs. She was a witness in the November 2019 House hearings regarding the impeachment of President Trump. A PhD in history from Harvard University, she is currently a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington.

“Trial by combat” speech will haunt Rudy Giuliani – and it should

In a Newsweek article posted today called “Bar Association Launches Probe Into Disqualifying Rudy Giuliani After ‘Trial by Combat’ Speech” by Alexandra Garrett, Giuliani will be facing much needed scrutiny over his role in inciting violence last Wednesday. This follows his active role in pushing frivolous lawsuits and unsupported claims of voter fraud over the last two months.

Per the article, the following paragraphs will sum up the issues at hand. A link to the full article is below.

“The New York State Bar Association launched an inquiry into disqualifying Rudy Giuliani‘s membership on Monday. The probe from NYSBA President Scott M. Karson came after Giuliani’s ‘trial by combat’ speech was made hours before Wednesday’s deadly attack on the Capitol.

‘We must address the root cause of this abhorrent incident, the blame for which lies first and foremost with President Donald Trump,’ said Susan DeSantis, the NYSBA’s chief communications strategist, in a Monday release.

DeSantis added that ‘the president did not act alone’ and said that Giuliani, his personal attorney, addressed the crowd at the Stop the Steal rally hours before the riot and was also partly to blame.

During his speech, Giuliani reiterated baseless claims that widespread election fraud affected the outcome of the presidential election. He also said Trump supporters should fight the results.

‘Over the next 10 days, we get to see the machines that are crooked, the ballots that are fraudulent. If we’re wrong, we will be made fools of, but if we’re right a lot of them will go to jail,’ said Giuliani. ‘Let’s have trial by combat.'”

Shortly after these comments, the Capitol Building was stormed endangering many, including the domestic terrorists. And, now five people are dead, including a police officer. Make no mistake. The outgoing president lied to these people, invited them to Washington, revved them up and then “sicced” them onto the Capitol like attack dogs. It should be noted the Capitol included his supporters.

Giuliani is culpable as well. He has gone from being America’s Mayor after 9/11 to a punchline in a joke to criminal incitement. The fall has been both embarrassing as well as troubling. A lesson that is not heeded by more than a few, if you fly too close to the outgoing president, you will get burned.

To be frank, I think Giuliani should be arrested for his role. The outgoing president may be beyond arrest, but he needs to also be held accountable through removal or forced resignation.

Bar Association Launches Probe Into Disqualifying Rudy Giuliani After ‘Trial by Combat’ Speech (msn.com)

When people do not push back on a tyrant

When people do not push back on a tyrant, they should not be surprised when he does tyrannical things. Five people died Wednesday, but that was the culmination of four years of corrupt and deceitful behavior….and a fragile ego. The most ardent of fans of the tyrant were endangered by the tyrant’s instigation of violence. The legislators who supported the tyrant’s efforts were found quivering in the Capitol Building worried about their lives. If they stood up and said, “but, I am on your side,” they could have been killed or hurt.

It is easy for Republican legislators and leaders to be courageous now, but when it was needed was when honorable diplomats and inspectors general raised concerns at great risk, knowing they would be fired for so doing. Yet, they did it anyway. I watched honorable duty bound people like Dr. Fiona Hill and Ambassador William Taylor testify under oath, only to be grilled by the tyrant’s toadies, who should also have taken an oath to tell the truth.

Former Intelligence director John Bolton condemns Trump now, but he left diplomats hanging with their testimony as he remained silent about the Ukraine extortion issue. Bolden was quoted as being very critical of the Ukraine extortion issue, but screwed these diplomats with his silence. Other former cabinet members are emboldened to criticize the tyrant now, but did they do enough to protect America from his whims and deceitful behavior when at the time needed?

And, for those who still support this tyrant, they need to answer a lot of questions. Trump’s actions led to five deaths, but he endangered the lives of his fans and the legislators who supported him. There is a term for that – it is called sociopathic behavior. It may not be well-known, but narcissism is a subset of sociopathic behavior. It has not been a large leap for the tyrant to do sociopathic things as he did last February when he purposefully endangered his fans at pep rallies being silent on the COVID-19 risk.

Will the tyrant be removed from office before his term ends? I do not know. But, no one deserves to be removed more than this ego-maniacal, corrupt and deceitful person. With too many Republican leaders not speaking up, especially during his staged voter fraud claims, more than his ardent base believe his BS. Note to followers, he lost the election because he got fewer votes. And, in spite of the claims of conspiracy theorists, the tyrant has lost 59 out of 60 court cases and every recount. He cannot lose more than he has already.

Sadly, more Americans will get hurt with the emboldened shadow people. If you doubt this, some of the more extreme groups that support Trump are already speaking online of worse things to come. Make no mistake, the tyrant and his toadies have blood on their hands, I just pray it is not more.