Monday morning you sure look fine

“Monday morning you sure look fine, but Friday I got travelin’ on my mind,” sang Lindsey Buckingham of Fleetwood Mac. Happy Monday everyone.

Of course, if I wanted to be downcast with the morning drizzle, I could have focused on Karen Carpenter’s “Rainy days and Mondays always get me down.” So, let’s conclude a double negative is s positive and make it a great day.

Here are a few random thoughts for the week:

– Whether you love or hate Speaker Nancy Pelosi, she is a worthy nemesis of the US president. She issued an open invitation to the president saying if you think you are being unfairly treated in the impeachment hearings, come testify. Inviting someone who has a hard time with the truth, would be sight to behold under oath.

– Speaking of the untruthful one, after intimidating in real time one witness while sending a message to others on Friday, the president called one of Mike Pence staff members a “never Trumper” for testifying behind closed doors that the phone call with Ukraine president (which she listened on) was very concerning. So, as is his want, Trump labeled her as enemy of him, even though she works for his VP.

– Please check out the yesterday’s interview between Chris Wallace, the best journalist at Fox, and GOP Congressman Steve Scalise. Wallace grills Scalise for the purposeful white washing of the impeachment hearings being done by Republicans. Wallace has noted like other viewers that these witnesses are honorable and credible public servants.

– This week will be even more telling as others testify. Whitewashing will continue, but we need to get back to that “oath” thing. Both Michael Cohen (Trump’s attorney fixer) and Roger Stone (self-professed dirty trickster) have been convicted of lying under oath to Congress.

Let me close with this question. If someone is a self-professed dirty trickster, is that a public confession of “trust me at your own peril?”

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.

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.

I guess I am just dumb as well

Per The National Review, “Senator John Kennedy (R., La.) slammed House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi at a rally for Republican gubernatorial candidate Eddie Rispone in Louisiana on Wednesday. ‘In three short years, President Trump has doubled the growth in the greatest economy in all of human history. And do you know what our Democratic friends have done for him?’ Kennedy asked an arena full of supporters in the city of Monroe, Louisiana. ‘Speaker Nancy Pelosi is trying to impeach him.’ ‘I don’t mean any disrespect, but it must suck to be that dumb,’ Kennedy said.”

For now, let me mention and set aside the incorrect statement made by the Senator about doubling the growth of the greatest economy (which softened to 1.9% annualized growth last quarter) in all of human history and I won’t even address that we are over ten plus years of consecutive month economic growth when the president has only been president for just shy of three years or that China and India have higher growth rates. Let me focus on the last statement.

Name calling serves no purpose and shows the author has a poor argument. From where I sit, let me mention a few things I posted on the Senator’s website:

– the US president has been credibly accused of abuse of power, obstruction of justice, extortion of a country for personal gain, and violation of campaign finance laws
– these allegations come under oath by many well-respected diplomats and staff who have served multiple presidents of both parties
– these testimonies have come at great personal risk by these public servants given the vindictive president and his syvophants
– this is on top of the Mueller Report which did many things, but did not exonerate the president of obstruction of justice and confirmed he is untruthful.

I guess under the Senator’s scorecard, that means I am dumb as well. Call me stupid, but I think we owe these public servants the same duty that they adhere to. Call me dumb, but I think Senator Kennedy’s colleague Lindsey Graham is also forsaking his duty by saying he won’t read the transcripts.

Well, I guess this independent and former Republican voter is just plain stupid. For some reason, I thought Senators swore an oath like these public servants did to serve the US constitution.

Love or hate Nancy Pelosi, she is at least doing her job. Senator, why don’t you do yours. Stop worrying about keeping your job and do your job.

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.

Half a dozen heroes to think about

My wife and I watched the movie “Harriet” on Friday about the American hero Harriet Tubman. She helped over 300 slaves find their way to freedom. Her courage, tenacity, faith and smarts are highly commendable. The movie is excellent and quite moving.

It got me thiking about a few other heroes. Let me mention three more historical heroes who need more notoriety, before I close with two current ones who deserve the shout out.

I have written before about Alan Turing, the father of modern day computing. He led a team that cracked the Nazi Enigma code used in secret transmissions. Allied Commander General Dwight Eisenhower said Turing and his team helped shorten the war by two years and save 750,000 lives. Sadly, Turing had to hide the fact he was gay and was later imprisoned after his sexual preferences were discovered. What if they had discovered he was gay in 1940 rather than 1950? Would those 750,000 people have died?

Two men who should get more acclaim are Elliott Richardson and William Ruckelshaus. What did they do? In October, 1973, they refused in succession to fire Watergate special prosecutor Archibald Cox at the direction of President Richard Nixon and were themselves fired. This was the beginning of the end of the Nixon presidency. Nixon called the Watergate investigation a “witch hunt” and said repeatedly “I am not a crook.” He was wrong on both counts. It wasn’t and he was.

A current hero is only sixteen years old, Greta Thunberg, the climate change activist from Sweden. She has inspired tens of millions kids, teens and adults in urging the need for more climate change action. I find her candor and can-do attitude refreshing. She has gotten the attention of legislators, but they need to act. We are behind where we need to be.

The other current hero is former US ambassador to Ukraine, Maria Yovanovitch. She was the first to testify to the House impeachment committees. Her political courage and respect for the US constitution is enviable. Her testimony led others to also brave testimony, especially in light of a vindictive president who they reiterated abused his powers. I cannot emphasize their courage enough, as more than a few Republican legislators feel the same but are not as courageous and fear the wrath of the president and his base.

Going against the grain in the face of adversity should be valued. Tubman freed herself and traversed over one hundred miles alone. Then she went back at great personal risk and freed more people. I applaud her and these other five people. We all should.

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.