Three simple questions

With the building impeachment story of abuse of power based on the testimony of honorable and decent public servants, there are three questions to ask Republican lawmakers.

– why is the president operating shadow diplomacy led by an unvetted (by the Senate) person?

– is the person in the White House someone you want to spend your dear reputation on?

– what will you have to defend or rationalizs next week, next month and next year and do you even know whether he has already committed the act needing your defense?

Respected commenters Mark Shields and David Brooks noted in their weekly recap on PBS Newshour last night, the corruption we should be worried about is not in Ukraine – it is in the White House. Using Mike Pompeo as an example of spending a dear reputation, they vilifed Pompeo for his disgracing his Marine training of letting the troops eat first, by not defending his people.

I agree. A real leader defends his or her people, not throw them under the bus. Sadly, Pompeo is following his boss’ example. Trump will throw anyone under the bus for any reason, perceived or real.

Sober and bigger questions for White House actions

To me, judging sober testimony from an entertainment vantage point shows poorly. I found Messers. Kent and Taylor credible, honorable, duty-bound and courageous. The context they offered was helpful. I am proud we have public servants like these gentlemen. I also think when Taylor answered a question saying what the president did was “wrong,” that actually resonated with a few Republicans. We should not forget these people have testified under oath, one that it appears they take seriously.

Yet, a point made near the end should be highlighted. The aid was not released until after the whistleblower issue was made public and there waa bipartisan frustration with the president. Mr. Nunes and friends need to be reminded of this point and Taylor’s point that what the president did was wrong.

A huge question should be asked and asked again. Why is president Trump asking Rudy Guiliani to run a shadow diplomacy? Even if Guiliani was Gandhi, he has not been vetted by the Senate. There is an even bigger issue of which this is a part. Other countries do not know who speaks for America. Those are not my words. These words come from other countries’ diplomats. This creates chaos and mistrust.

It matters not the party of the president. What he is doing is “wrong.” He needs to be held accountable even if it does not lead to his removal from office. It is that important.

Wednesday walkabout on a cold November day

Stay warm everyone in the northern hemisphere! A cold spell has blown in from Siberia here on the North American continent. Brr.

So, bundle up for today’s walkabout with a few topics wandering around in mind.

A 17 year-old vaper had a double lung transplant. Read that statement again. Ironically, I watched a tongue-in-cheek movie about a smoking lobbyist called “Thank you for smoking.” The punchline is if you don’t like the debate, change the argument. Eventually the argument was lost when a whistleblower noted the tobacco industry knew nicotine was addictive dating back to 1964. Now, we are at a deja vu moment with vaping.

Today the House impeachment hearings begin with several credible witnesses who have already raised concerns under oath. I want people to remember the “under oath” part as the accused tweets away. The president testified under oath once when deposed and the attorney got him to admit to over 30 lies. There is a reason White House attorneys did not want Robert Mueller to depose Trump.

The timing of the impeachment hearing is unfortunate as it takes the spotlight away from the Roger Stone trial. Stone is a self-proclaimed dirty-trickster, which speaks volumes in and of itself.

The hearings also overshadow the news out of New York where Donald J. Trump admitted to using his charity as his personal piggy bank. He agreed to repay the charity $2 million and his kids on the Board have to go to Board training. It should be noted Trump’s CFO was on the Board and did not know it. This is a microcosm of how the boss operates.

Finally, I predict three things. The House will impeach the president, but not enough GOP senators will convict him. Rudy Guiliani and Mick Mulvaney will serve as scapegoats for the Teflon Don. Each tribe will claim victory, but American democracy will lose as our guardrails of governance with this ungovernable incumbent will collapse.

Climate change shout out

Earlier this week, the US president began the official process to abandon the rest of the world by leaving the Paris Climate Change Accord. As a response, I posted the following on the websites of many Democrat presidential candidates. Please feel free to modify and use accordingly.

“Please shout from the roof tops that if you win the presidency you will have the US rejoin the Paris Climate Change Accord the day of your inauguration. Leaving this agreement is poor stewardship of our planet and detrimental to our global leadership.

In less than three short years, we have recurringly ceded our global leadership role forsaking our allies and trading partners. We have also become less trustworthy because our president cannot be trusted. Rejoining Paris would be a huge step back to being a good neighbor.”

Medicaid expansion is needed for NC says this retired benefits professional

As North Carolina continues its stalemate on Medicaid expansion, it might be interesting to heed the words of former Ohio Republican governor John Kasich. When Ohio moved forward with the Medicaid expansion, he called it a “no brainer.”

Now why would he say that? Kasich noted Medicaid expansion would not only help people, it would bring $13 billion to his state over several years. George Washington University did a study that said Medicaid expansion would help a state’s economy, help a state’s rural hospitals and help people. We should also remember NC Republican Mayor Adam O’Neal of Belhaven walking to Washington seeking the expansion of Medicaid after his colleagues in Raleigh turned him down as he tried to save his town’s hospital.

Rather than offer stale arguments, it would be nice if the Senate and House leaders figure out a way to get this done. Let me add the voices of The Commonwealth Fund, RAND Corporation and Economic Policy Institute that echo the results of the GWU study. NC is already in the minority on this. Please let’s find a way to help people.

Let me close with a truism about health coverage to think about. Those with coverage will see doctors earlier and will have access to prescription drugs to avoid future train wrecks. Preventive care and health maintenance are better paths forward for people and healthcare financing.

Note: The author of this post is a retired benefits professional who is a former actuary, former benefits consultant and benefits manager for a Fortune 500 company

Hillary please don’t

As an Independent, I have read that some are encouraging Hillary Clinton to run again. Please don’t. After two bites at the apple, America needs you to move on.

We are already dealing with the most untruthful and corrupt president in my lifetime and that includes Richard Nixon. I strongly support the impeachment process – we must get to the bottom of this, especially after the parade of honorable public servants have raised concerns over Trump’s abuse of power.

For those overlooking the damage citing the economy, please note we are 10 + years into our economic growth and Trump has only been president for just short of three years.

Note: The above was a letter I sent to my local newspaper and hometown newspaper.

Support the impeachment process

The following is a variation of a letter I forwarded to my US legislators. Please feel free to adapt and use.
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Seeing the parade of diplomats and senior staff members testifying under oath regarding their consistent concerns over the president’s abuse of power is telling. They are exhibiting political courage with the knowledge they are up against a vindictive person. We should applaud their heroism and heed their concerns.

As an independent and former Republican voter, I strongly support formalizing the impeachment process. We must get to the bottom of this. Having read the Mueller Report, the president’s credibility is poor.