A few thoughts on a rainy Tuesday

It seems like we cannot escape the rain, but at least it is better than ice and snow. Take care and drive safely. Here are a couple of thoughts on this rainy Tuesday.

In the first Harry Potter movie, one of Potter’s dorm mates won his group extra points by standing up to his friends when they were about to do something wrong. The headmaster noted standing up to one’s friends shows more courage than standing up to one’s enemies. Senator Mitt Romney should be awarded more points for his political courage for standing alone as he spoke truth to power. Like Romney, the public servants who testified under oath and at great risk showed courage when they knew they would be punished by “he who should not be named.”

There is an old saying “one should never argue with a street preacher.” Why? If someone is going to stand on a corner and yell for several hours, they may be a tad zealous. Online or on social media, it is hard to identify the street preachers (a metaphor for zealous people). Their views are given too much weight, especially when they are elected officials. Unfortunately, with gerrymandering and tribal politics, some authors of ludicrous statements are better left ignored. When an official advocates killing people for their beliefs, that is not only asinine, it is hate speech. I wish the press would ignore much of the BS spewed by the US president, yet they feel obligated to report it.

Since my computer seems to be hiccupping this morning, let me leave you with those two thoughts. Have a great day.

Don’t rankle the new king

In a speech in Charlotte on Friday, the new king of America acknowledged the presence of junior Republican Senator Thom Tillis. While Tillis voted for acquittal, he got a lot of GOP flak for criticizing the new king for closing the government last year. He quickly fell in line.

Yet, what made his subservient role telling is what the new king said Friday according to The Charlotte Observer. He acknowledged, “(Tillis) as a great friend except for a couple of minor disagreements. Of course, I won’t put up with it for long, Thom Tillis.”

The new king put Tillis in a corner telling him not to slight the king. It should be noted this was the same day the new king fired two witnesses (Alex Vindeman and Gordon Sondland) who told the truth under oath at the risk of knowing this reckoning would come. For good measure, the new king fired Vindeman’s brother. This is on the heels of Marie Yovanovitch deciding to retire after she became persona non grata by standing up to the king’s corruption and telling the truth.

The GOP led Senate opened Pandora’s Box and annointed the new king. My guess is many knew better, but had to acquiesce to a person who one Republican said keeps a list of those who criticize him in word or deed.

The evidence of Trump’s Ukraine corruptive behavior is overwhelming. By choosing to look the other way, the GOP has far damaged its party and country. The egregious vindictive actions of just this week, are only the first of many.

A fable about a mistreated woman

Once upon a time, there was a woman who represented her employer in client relations. She had been doing her job well for about thirty years and was now working to assist a growing, but fragile client.

Unbeknownst to her, her boss’ boss had been told she was not doing what he wanted, which was actually corrupt. She stood in the way of her boss’ boss accomplishing is illicit task. The big boss even hired an attorney to dig up dirt and bad mouth her to the client and others.

Sadly, her boss did nothing to support her. He actually participated in the process. Her long time good service did not matter. When the bad-mouthing hit the press, she was chagrined.

She was eventually fired. Yet, what puzzled her is why did they not just fire her? They did not need to drag her name through the mud. They could have simply replaced her.

This is not a fable. The woman’s name is Marie Yovanovitch and she was the US ambassador to Ukraine. Her boss is Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his boss is Donald Trump. The attorney is Rudy Giuliani.

Let’s set all the machinations aside. Of course, the president has the right to fire anyone. But, why did he have to run down Yovanovitch’s name and sully her reputation? That is a damn shame. It also speaks volumes about the relative character of those involved.

A few Wednesday wanderings

It is a good day to go for a hike and see where I may wander. I am thinking of the JRR Tolkien line “Not all those who wander are lost.” Although, sometimes I feel I am lost in a country that has lost its compass. Here are a few thoughts to ponder while I wander.

I read that Senator Rand Paul read the name of the whistleblower in the senate yesterday. I left Paul a message after I read this. The gist is to tell him I have applauded him when he has been bipartisan and when he has shown political courage to push back on the president. I defend his right to do what he thinks is best. But, reading the name of the whistleblower on the floor of the senate is extremely poor form. It places someone in danger. We protect whistleblowers for a reason. Plus, I watched a parade of honorable diplomats testify under oath and at great risk of their concerns over Ukraine’s fledgling democracy and what they believe Trump did to use them for personal gain.

I saw where the president’s approval rating has increased to 49% under one poll with an average of 43.6% This shows me two things. People are not paying attention as they are told to look the other way. It also tells me the economy is propping up Trump’s numbers more than they should be. I have said for ten years, the president gets too much credit and too much blame for the economy. I am glad it continues at a pretty good clip, but it has been so doing for going on 128 consecutive months, and Trump has only been president for going on 37 months.

From the testimony I have seen and read, the obstruction of justice by the president and the refusal to seek the truth, I feel the president is guilty as charged. Another reason to know this is he is saying he is not, but his excuses keep changing. I have long grown weary of weak-kneed GOP sycophants rationalize the toddler’s tantrums and truancy. In my view, these folks put loyalty to this imposter king ahead of loyalty to the constitution. And, people need to know this. Fortunately, there is even a Republican group spending money to shed light on this poor stewardship.

Those are the three thoughts of the day. Have a great rest of the week.

Pandora’s Box is a foreboding example for the GOP

Per Wikipedia, “Pandora’s box is an artifact in Greek mythology connected with the myth of Pandora in Hesiod’s Works and Days. In modern times an idiom has grown from it meaning ‘Any source of great and unexpected troubles’ or, alternatively, ‘A present which seems valuable but which in reality is a curse.’ Later depictions of the fatal container have been varied, while some literary and artistic treatments have focused more on the contents of the idiomatic box than on Pandora herself.”

This literary example comes to mind as the Republican Senators may now be fully opening Pandora’s Box, if they acquit the US president with no admonishment. They may not ever get a chance to put the president back in the box and my guess is they won’t be able to. Mind you, I believe the evidence is pretty compelling that the president is every bit as guilty and more. Sadly, he has dragged others into his mess, as is his usual modus operandi.

What they are missing because of fear and blind allegiance is this is the point of reckoning where they could have saved their party and democracy. This point may be looked back on in history as the watershed moment when the GOP leaders failed to act upon. The argument that the president’s position is above the law is absolute BS. We are not a kingdom and, if our president is corrupt and untruthful as this one is, he needs to be removed from office.

As an independent and former GOP and Democrat voter, I do not care what party is represented in the White House. But, when the incumbent dishonors the position to the point where 63% of Europeans do not trust him, trusting Putin and Xi more, what does that tell you?

Taking the US president at his word is fool’s errand. But, this is not new. His attorney and fixer, Michael Cohen said under oath, “Donald Trump is a racist, he is a con-artist and he is a cheat.” Under oath, Cohen said he sent out over 500 strong arm letters to people and entities to not reveal any negative news about Trump. The most succinct quote about Trump comes from Thomas Wells, another attorney who worked with Trump, when he wrote before the election, “Donald Trump lies everyday, even about things of no consequence.”

The evidence is overwhelming in my view, based on the testimony of duty bound public servants under oath who testified at great risk. But, the key reason I know Trump is guilty beyond his modus operandi, is because he said he is not. When one lies like the president, the story is fluid, like retreating lines drawn in the sand.

Republican Joe Walsh on Trump

The following are excerpts from an op-ed written by Republican Joe Walsh, who is running against Donald Trump. I fully recognize he is adversarial to Trump as a candidate, but this is one of two people who are saying Trump does not and should not represent the GOP or America. The quotes speak for themselves.

“Donald Trump has visited Iowa fewer than five days since he took office, but tonight, four days ahead of the Republican Caucuses, he’ll descend upon Des Moines for one of those grandstanding rallies that have become his trademark: A spectacle long on self-indulgent bravado and lies, and short on substance and unity.

In typical form, the President will leave as quickly as he comes, spending just a couple of hours in Iowa campaigning for his reelection. He’ll listen to no one, he won’t engage in dialogue with any student, parent, or senior citizen, and he won’t take a question from one single Iowa voter. He never does. He’ll bask in himself on stage, and then he’ll get out of Dodge. One more reminder that Donald Trump doesn’t care about the hardworking people of Iowa. He cares only about Donald Trump.

I believe our country is strong enough to turn the page on these last four years if we rise up and act, but I fear for our country if we are forced to endure four more years of Trump.

I’m exhausted by this President, a narcissist who makes everyday about himself. Our country deserves a President focused on our country’s pressing issues, like our falling-apart infrastructure, broken healthcare system and rapidly changing workforce. Most of all, we deserve to have a president who is capable of basic human decency.”

I find it of interest, Walsh saying he is “exhausted” by the president. Many use the same term or its sister “wearied” in defining the impact of this president. What I find interesting is the lengths the GOP and its leadership have gone to squelch dissent in their party to avoid making the president look bad. No witnesses must be called. Fox News airing the Democrats case with no audio. Walsh and Bill Weld cannot get on certain states’ primaries. Last time I checked, this was supposed to be a democracy.

Disappointment – letter to a GOP Senator

Senator Burr, as an independent and former Republican, I have voted for you in the past. I have applauded you when you have gone out of your way to be bipartisan, especially with your and Mark Warner’s handling of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

I did not expect the Senate to remove Donald Trump, even though the testimony I have seen and his actions to block evidence and witnesses indicate someone who is guilty. The why question I want an answer to is why did the White House try to bury the infamous phone call, if it was so perfect? And, frankly, I am troubled that we have a shadow diplomacy going on which keeps our diplomats in the dark. I would say this if the person was Mother Teresa, but Rudy Giuliani is a far cry from her exemplar.

What does trouble me is the insistence that the president did nothing wrong and the Senate’s lack of interest in getting at the truth. I have concerns that we have a national security risk in the White House. It is already clear, that he feels empowered to be regal. We are not a kingdom.

So, I am disappointed in your stance. What troubles me further, is many Republicans know that Trump is guilty, yet they cannot say it. The rationalization of his corrupt and untruthful actions and statements is wearisome and numbing. My question to you and other GOP leaders, is what will you have to defend next week, next month, and the months thereafter? Adam Schiff asked an important question that the GOP needs to heed – do you want to know now or later? To be brutally frank, the GOP may want to rethink allowing Bill Weld and Joe Walsh on the primary ballots in all states.

That is my two cents. I will not be voting for the junior Senator from NC nor will I vote for the incumbent president. I would consider Weld or Walsh as a candidate, but do believe they need a fair chance, which the president has denied. I want to look up to my president and expect what he says is truthful. Neither of these apply to Donald Trump.