The Rolling Stone speaks of inconvenient truths

The editorial board of the Charlotte News and Observer and Raleigh’s News and Observer penned the following editorial yesterday regarding one of the state of North Carolina’s more extreme new Congressional representatives called “New, troubling questions about Madison Cawthorn and Jan. 6.” The editorial speaks to some interesting findings from an unusual political source, The Rolling Stone. I am sure when Cawthorn sings that famous song about getting his picture on the cover, he was not envisioning this. Here part of the piece with a link to the full editorial below.

“Followers of former President Donald Trump have found one conspiracy theory they don’t like: That some Republican members of Congress may have had deeper roles in plans and events that led to the storming of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. One reason they don’t like it is that — unlike the bizarre theories of QAnon, the baseless notions of rampant voter fraud and suspicions about COVID vaccines — the concern that members of Congress may have had a hand in efforts to overturn the election appears to be backed by evidence. Rolling Stone reported on Sunday that two organizers of the Jan. 6 protests have told congressional investigators that ‘multiple members of Congress were intimately involved in planning both Trump’s efforts to overturn his election loss and the Jan. 6 events that turned violent.’

Rolling Stone said the organizers, speaking anonymously, named seven Republican members of Congress who joined, either directly or through their staffers, in the effort to overturn the election. Republican North Carolina Rep. Madison Cawthorn was among those named. Cawthorn spokesman Luke Ball dismissed the report on Monday, saying, “These anonymous accusations are complete garbage. Neither the congressman nor his staff had advance knowledge of what transpired at the Capitol on January 6th or participated in any alleged ‘planning process.’

That Cawthorn was named is hardly a surprise. He spoke at the Jan. 6 rally near the White House where he said, ‘The Democrats, with all the fraud they have done in this election, the Republicans, hiding and not fighting, they are trying to silence your voice.’ Since then, Cawthorn has suggested that another contested election may require taking up arms. ‘When tyranny becomes law, rebellion becomes your duty,’ he told a Republican group. Cawthorn’s remarks are not the only embarrassment for North Carolina.

The Rolling Stone report also suggests deep involvement in the Jan. 6 events by White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, a former Republican congressman who preceded Cawthorn in North Carolina’s 11th District. And then there is the shameless behavior of Republican members of the state’s congressional delegation, who opposed formation of the select committee investigating the Jan. 6 events. Republican links to the Capitol attack are not limited to Republicans in Washington. ProPublica reported last week that at least two Republican members of the North Carolina General Assembly are members of the Oath Keepers, a militant group whose members were among the instigators of the Jan. 6 violence….

...Elected officials like Cawthorn are not simply zealots or cranks. They are the start of what could become an anti-democratic wave that would have a white and wealthy minority preside over the nation against the popular will.

The Rolling Stone report adds new urgency to the work of the House select committee investigating who and what drove the events of Jan. 6, and what must be done to end the smoldering danger to our democracy. Even one of the organizers of the Jan. 6 rally now realizes that urgency. They told Rolling Stone: ‘The reason I’m talking to the committee and the reason it’s so important is that — despite Republicans refusing to participate … this commission’s all we got as far as being able to uncover the truth about what happened at the Capitol that day. It’s clear that a lot of bad actors set out to cause chaos.’ Now the committee must uncover who those bad actors are — and how many of them are from North Carolina.”

The Rolling Stone is not the first publication who has raised this issue. I read just following the insurrection on January 6, that several of the insurrectionists had visited the capitol building as guests of various Congressional representatives. Why? It should be noted that Cawthorn filled Mark Meadows seat when the latter became Chief of Staff for the former president, so why are those two mentioned above in the report?

I have spoken to about a couple hundred members of staff of US representatives and senators. Almost all have been civil and cordial. When I spoke with one of Cawthorn’s staff about him taking the opportunity as a younger member of Congress to help the party be more truthful and forthright with citizens following some of the rhetoric he said noted above, I was told that he came down hard on the insurrection, which I was puzzled by. If he did, it was drowned out by his other words. I will let you be the judge from reading the above.

As an independent and former Republican (and long ago Democrat) voter, we must get to the bottom of the January 6 insurrection. It was a heinous act in our history and it matters not which party did it. We cannot have citizens invading the capitol building. If the former president is as culpable as he appears with his Big Lie, invitation and instigation, then we must get to the bottom of it. The fact that one party does not want to get to the bottom of it speaks volumes.

Yet, what that party fails to realize is when someone defames the office, the party must be zealous in criticizing that person or all of them get tainted. That is a lesson the Catholic Church failed to heed.

Read more at: https://www.charlotteobserver.com/opinion/article255267771.html#storylink=cpy

Three Questions

It was announced yesterday, the additional review of the Arizona 2020 election results by a pro-Republican group confirmed once again that Joe Biden won the election in Arizona. This follows on a recent ruling in Michigan that attorneys representing Trump must pay legal fees for their frivolous lawsuit and have been referred to the state bar association for possible disbarment.

It should be noted that the former president has lost well over 60 court cases on his election fraud claims, winning only one small case in Pennsylvania. So, with this in mind, here are three questions.

1.How many times must Donald Trump lose the same count of election results for it to sink in he lost?

2.How many court cases must Donald Trump lose before he realizes he is wasting money, credibility and attorney reputations contesting election results?

3.When will Republican party leadership tell the followers of Donald Trump that he lost the election, so get over it and let’s move on?

Three simple questions. To be frank, for someone who does not like to lose, the former president has put himself in an endless cycle of losing by rewinding and replaying the same story. And, yet his sycophants continue to burn their own reputations to support this continuing farce. Then, we have that sedition thing.

Oh, the questions we should ask

My wife and I were watching an old movie called “Cabaret” with Liza Minnelli, Joel Grey and Michael York which won many Oscars. The movie (based on the successful play) was set in Berlin before the Nazis came into power, but were making waves. The movie included several ironies, but one that stood out is York’s character pointing out the idiocy of Nazi early propaganda that defined successful Jews as communists and capitalists. He told the disinformed reader you cannot be both.

During the 2008 US presidential election, Barack Obama was painted both as a Muslim and a person belonging to a Christian church with a minister who was an aggressive protestor in his past. OK, which is it? Is Obama a Muslim or a Christian? He cannot be both. By the same token, too many failed to realize that Obama was also half-white, but that was less important than his name which made him seem he was not from around here. Of course, that is precisely why people like the most recent past president made a field day with the birther issue.

Oh, the questions we should ask. Especially when we see ironies. A question I want MAGA fans to answer is simple. Why would people like Congresswoman Liz Cheney, who know they will be vilified and receive death threats, call out the former president for his role in the January 6 insurrection and vote to impeach him? Swimming against the tide is hard and takes a courageous soul. Does her so doing at least make you want to think more about what she is saying?

What I have learned during the new tribalism that surrounds and protects the former president, what makes the MAGA crowd so mad is not as much what she said, but that she said it. Senator Ron Johnson, who is as big a Trump drum beater as there is, has been recently vilified for accepting the Wisconsin 2020 election results. A few more supporters have begun to realize that the former president has been unable to prove much of anything to support his election fraud claims. But, I think they are mad at Johnson for saying it. It does not fit neatly in the current narrative that voter suppression is the answer in several states like Texas.

We must ask questions. When using misinformation and disinformation is the modus operandi, contradictions will come out. When I speak with staff or leave messages with Republican congressional representatives or senators, my thrust is to get them to move the GOP back to better footing. A party that vilifies its truth tellers and celebrates its liars is not an admirable party. And, what frustrates me so much is the efforts to do both are overt, not even hidden or done discreetly with a wink and a nod.

Former conservative governor and congressman speaks of ‘Trump hijacking’ of the party

In an article in the Business Insider calledMark Sanford said GOP leaders went along with Trump ‘hijacking’ the party because it ‘had come to stand for surprisingly little‘” by John Dorman, former South Carolina governor and congressman Mark Sanford offers direct criticism of what his party has become.

While I am not a huge fan of Sanford’s, disagreeing with him more than I agree, I do agree with him on his assertion in this article. Here are a few salient paragraphs, with a link to the entire article below.

“Mark Sanford, a longtime conservative lawmaker from South Carolina, viewed the Republican Party through a critical lens long before former President Donald Trump took office in 2017, as he detailed in his newly released book, ‘Two Roads Diverged.

‘Before Donald Trump’s arrival in Washington, the conservative movement as represented by the Republican Party had devolved into a lukewarm mess,’ he writes. ‘Reality was the Republican Party didn’t really represent conservatism any longer.

‘There was no strong objection within Republican circles to what Trump began to change in the Grand Old Party because to many of them, the GOP had come to stand for surprisingly little,’ he writes. ‘The people who truly believed in conservative ideals were disillusioned and tired of the Republican Party’s abysmal efforts to advance their ideas.

While in office, Trump was able to muscle through the 2017 tax-reform bill, which lowered the top corporate-tax rate from 35% to 21%, and installed a raft of conservative judges to the federal bench, but Sanford was less than impressed with the president.

After Sanford publicly clashed with Trump, who called the then-congressman ‘nothing but trouble,’ he lost the GOP primary for his House seat in 2018 to the state legislator Katie Arrington, who went on to lose the general election to the Democrat Joe Cunningham, in what was considered a major upset.

In his book, Sanford says that if someone is asked what the GOP represents, they might say ‘it stands for freedom.’ But he says: ‘Trump’s style was far too autocratic to allow that answer to stick, and his flirtations with leaders like Vladimir Putin undercut the GOP’s moral high ground on freedom.'”

There is truly not much more to add to Sanford’s comments as I want his concerns to be highlighted as a Republican.

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/mark-sanford-said-gop-leaders-went-along-with-trump-hijacking-the-party-because-it-had-come-to-stand-for-surprisingly-little/ar-AANH6TL?ocid=msedgntp

Watergate reporter Carl Bernstein levels GOP after General Milley book

In an article by Ken Riley of Mediaite called “Carl Bernstein Absolutely Levels GOP for Ignoring Threat Posed By ‘Crazy, Delusional, Authoritarian, Dangerous, Criminal’ Trump,” Riley reports on comments made by Bernstein in an interview on New Day. Excerpts from the article follow, but the entire article can be linked to below.

“Bernstein joined New Day on Thursday to discuss ‘I Alone Can Fix It: Donald J. Trump’s Catastrophic Final Year,’ the incoming new book about General Mike Milley from the Washington Post‘s Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker. He was specifically asked for his thoughts about how Milley not only compared Trump to Adolf Hitler, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff also began to formulate a backup plan in case Trump tried to launch a coup.

Bernstein began by commenting that the report, while ‘extraordinary,’ merely confirmed, ‘what we already knew, that we had a crazy, delusional, authoritarian, dangerous, criminal president of the United States.

His character, his authoritarianism, his recklessness, his homicidal negligence through the pandemic. All of this was known to our leaders, and the party of Trump and the party of McConnell and what we saw in the insurrection. These are all things that were embraced up until the last minute by McConnell and Republican leadership. And they continue to be embraced: Trumpism, in all its derangement, terror and horror.

As the conversation continued to address the full connotations of Milley’s remarks, Bernstein offered his disgust over the likelihood that they will be ‘dismissed immediately’ by the Trump movement. As he mused on Milley directly tying neofascism to Trumpism, Bernstein asked ‘how did we get to a place where the leader of the American military compared the president of the United States to Hitlerian fascism?’”

I truly am tired of writing about the most deceitful and corrupt acting president in my lifetime, which now must include the word seditious to describe his actions. His actions and statements are overt and it puzzles me how so many critics can be so easily dismissed. His followers have shown a desire to stick with a person who is well-documented by numerous resources and people as untruthful.

It may go down in history as one of the biggest con jobs. But, don’t take my word for it, just read some of what the former president’s Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said. Or, if you don’t like his comments, the former president’s Secretary of Defense James Mattis said “Donald Trump does not even try to unite us.” Yet, the most all encompassing comment comes from Michael Cohen, the former president’s attorney and fixer (why one needs a fixer is in and of itself a concern), when he said under oath to Congress “Donald Trump is a racist, he is a con-artist and he is a cheat.”

Carl Bernstein Rips Republicans Ignoring Threat From Trump (mediaite.com)

Former Fox News president criticizes network for spreading election fraud and mask misinformation

In an article in The Daily Beast called “Former Murdoch Exec: Fox News Is Poison For America” by Preston Padden, he pulls no punches about his former network. His words speak for themselves as indicated in the following sample paragraphs (the whole article can be linked to below)..

“Rupert Murdoch, who I served for seven years, has many business and journalistic achievements. He owes himself a better legacy than a news channel that no reasonable person would believe...

But, in recent years things have gone badly off the tracks at Fox News. Fox News is no longer is a truthful center-right news network. The channel (especially the leading prime time opinion programming) has contributed substantially and directly to:

  • the unnecessary deaths of many Americans by disparaging the wearing of life-saving COVID masks;
  • divisions in our society by stoking racial animus and fueling the totally false impression that Black Lives Matter and Antifa are engaged in nightly, life-threatening riots across the country;
  • the unnecessary deaths of many Americans by fueling hesitation and doubt about the efficacy and safety of life-saving COVID vaccines [Fox News provided me examples of pro-mask/vaccine on-air comments, but in my opinion, they were heavily outweighed by the negative comments of the highly rated primetime opinion hosts];
  • former President Trump’s “Big Lie” that the election was stolen from him by providing a continuous platform for wild and false claims about the election—claims refuted by more than 60 judges, Republican State election officials, recounts in numerous States and Trump’s own Attorney General; and
  • the January 6, 2021 violent assault on the U.S. Capitol by continually promoting former President Trump’s “Stop The Steal” rally;

Fox News has caused many millions of Americans—most of them Republicans (as my wife and I were for 50 years)—to believe things that simply are not true. For example, Yahoo News reports that 73% of Republicans blame “left-wing protesters” for the January 6 attack on the Capitol. Of course, that is ludicrous. All one has to do is look at the pictures or videos of the attack to see that the violent mob was comprised of Trump supporters. Similarly, a poll by SSRS in late April found that two-thirds of Republicans either believe or suspect that the election was stolen from Trump—60% saying there is “hard evidence” that the election was stolen. As noted above, this ridiculous notion has been thoroughly refuted. But millions of Americans believe these falsehoods because they have been drilled into their mind’s night-after-night by Fox News.

I encourage people to read the entire article. I used the word misinformation in the title, but much of this is purposeful disinformation. I can argue with someone on political positions, but what I don’t like is politicians who are lying about basic facts. And, their lying is aided and abetted by talk show hosts on Mr. Padden’s former network.

Take it to the bank, Mr. Padden will be painted as a disgruntled former employee. But, this independent and former Republican (and Democrat) voter does not see anything in his major assessment to quibble about. What confuses me is most people do not want to be made to look foolish. Yet, apparently believing what Fox is spoon-feeding is OK.

Former Murdoch Exec: Fox News Is Poison For America (msn.com)

Mid-week musings

Ever the news junkie, I have seriously dialed back my news intake. It has made my life much easier, as I need not worry as much about who said what about whom. Mind you, those stories seep in as I see my browser headlines, but knowing the lack of veracity of many of those reporting or being reported on, I need not bother reading what the latest gossip is. And, truth be told, a lot of what comes out of some mouths or fingers is gossip.

I did see where former Republican president George W. Bush has joined former Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner in lamenting the nationalistic and untruthful bents of their party. Both are doing book tours, which give reporters the opportunity to ask questions about the overt inanity going on in their party. People may not recall that Boehner resigned as Speaker as he was tired of herding cats to get legislation passed. And, Bush has turned out to be a better artist than first envisioned, and is helping paint what American immigrants look like.

I am delighted Derek Chauvin was found guilty of the murder of George Floyd. It would have been a travesty of justice if he had not, since his crime was overt and recorded. Those who have made this issue tribal need to look at the footage and testimony to see how good a case was made. Also, we need elected leaders to avoid commenting on trials until they are finished. The best thing they can do is wish the jurors well with their jurisprudence. Their comments could be cited as undue jury influence if made before sequestering.

Speaking of veracity, I am long weary of politicians, spin doctors and opinion hosts masquerading as news people trying to re-write history, even very recent history to support their tribe.. I fully realize how easy it is to do with social media and US citizenry more keen on entertainment news. There is an conscious effort to sand away the former president’s role in the insurrection on January 6. This followed and is still following a conscious effort to say the election was fraudulent, when proof continues to be elusive.

If you are getting your news from an opinion host, my strong suggestion is to find another source. Many of these folks are mere entertainers telling you what you want to hear. It matters not if people with names like Carlson, Hannity, Maddow, Rivera, O’Donnell, Ingraham, etc. like or dislike something, as they are only sharing their opinion. And, some of opinions are less informed than their smugness conveys.

Likewise, if you are getting your news from legislators, that is unfortunately a dubious source, as well. .And, they brought it on themselves. The sad part is they don’t seem to care if caught in lie. The last president’s worst legacy is not his rampant untruthfulness, it is how he showed people to deflect scrutiny from his lies. If it is bad, it is “fake news.” One hundred years from now, when “fake news” is looked up, it should have a picture of the most recent former president in its definition.

So, take a deep breath. Stop watching entertainers tell you what to think and read and watch better sources of news. And, if a legislator says something, take it with a grain of salt. Better yet, confirm it with another source.

Loneliness defines the fight against disinformation in one’s tribe

In an article by Jeremy Peters of The New York Times called “One Republican’s Lonely Fight Against a Flood of Disinformation,” it is very lonely in the world of truth seekers in the GOP. Former Republican Congressman Denver Riggleman openly condemned the conspiracy parrots that had taken over his party led by the deceitful former president and it cost him is job. He was one of the seventeen Republicans who voted to impeach or convict the former president on his seditious incitement of an insurrection.

And, almost all of those Republicans have been censured by the so-called state leadership of the Republican party. That is a sad statement in and of itself. The folks who risk much to call out those who risk so little are the ones being called on the carpet. As two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Nicholas Kristof noted in defining the contrast in the retirement of Senator Rob Portman and the rise of Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene, “When a party loses a statesman and gains a kook, that’s a bad omen.”

Here is the opening paragraph from the attached article:

“It was Oct. 2, on the floor of the House of Representatives, and he rose as one of only two Republicans in the chamber to speak in favor of a resolution denouncing QAnon. Mr. Riggleman, a freshman congressman from Virginia, had his own personal experiences with fringe ideas, both as a target of them and as a curious observer of the power they hold over true believers. He saw a dangerous movement becoming more intertwined with his party, and worried that it was only growing thanks to words of encouragement from President Donald J. Trump.”

There is not more that needs to be said. The fact the former president was not only parroting, but promoting these lies from conspiracy sites is telling as he is not known for being very truthful. Frankly, I expect this kind of behavior from the former president. What bothers me most is his sycophants who push these lies forward.

One Republican’s Lonely Fight Against a Flood of Disinformation (msn.com)

Being caught lying used to be embarrassing

Few people outside of Arizona may know the name of Republican Senator Jon Kyl. He uttered one of my favorite lines when he was caught in a lie that reveals so much. After wrongfully saying that 90% of Planned Parenthood’s activities were abortions (it is actually 3%), he said the following when questioned.

Per the HuffPost, “so why did Kyl say 90 percent? CNN got a hold of him and relayed his response: apparently it wasnot intended to be a factual statement‘ and was supposed to merely illustrate that Planned Parenthood subsidizes abortions.” In essence, he is saying it is your fault for believing what he said.

This emboldened quote from the Senator is his legacy with me. When I think of Kyl, I think of his being untruthful. Yet, it did not bother him to lie. It was just modus operandi. I expect politicians to embellish and even lie, but I want them to at least be chagrin when they are confronted with proof they are lying. And, it is not just one party.

When I think of the seditious former president, it is hard to only think of his untruthfulness, but that is at the heart of who he is. He also bullies and denigrates people and throws them under the bus if they dare criticize him. But, he is a notorious and well-documented untruthful person. But, it does not seem to matter, as he has convinced his followers that everyone else is lying or just doesn’t like him, which is a toddler’s argument.

Because we live in a post-truth society, people who are untruthful can get away with an awful lot. That has been the seditious former president’s one great talent – muddy up all waters to make everyone look bad, so he is OK by comparison. And, his sycophants cover for him. They are being Kyl-like in their support and lack of shame.

His followers do not want to hear the truth. Then, they would have to consider if it is possibly true. If a MAGA follower was a good friend, you could ask if I knew you husband routinely lied to you, had cheated on you twice, once over eight months, who grabbed women by their private parts and then bragged on it, who had a person go around to people he affronted and pay them for their silence, and then berated and bullied anyone who dared criticize him, would you stay married to such a man? The person I just described is the former president.

Lies do matter. The former president’s legacy long before he was ever president would include the words bully, egomaniacal, and sexual misconduct, but make no mistake, the first word would be untruthful. Taking the former president at his word is a fool’s errand.

Republican Party ‘engulfed in lies and fear’ per another former Republican legislator

In an article this weekend called “Former GOP lawmaker: Republican Party ‘engulfed in lies and fear'” by Jonathan Easley of The Hill, yet another former lawmaker is sharing his concerns about how far his party has fallen. Here are a few paragraphs from the article, plus a link below.

“Former Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.) argued in a pre-taped interview that ran Friday that the Republican Party has lost its way and become ‘engulfed in lies in fear.

Curbelo and former Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) teamed up as part of the nonpartisan debate series IntelligenceSquared U.S. to argue that many within the GOP are knowingly pushing a lie that the election was stolen out of fear of retaliation from former President Trump.

In his opening remarks, Curbelo said that by embracing former President Trump’s election claims, which preceded the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, the GOP had lost its credibility and damaged democracy.

‘Here we only have two [political parties] and in order for one to be able to hold the other accountable, it has to be viable. It has to have credibility. With a majority of the voters in the country, it has to be a reasonable choice for most people,’ Curbelo said. ‘And the problem we have today in our democracy is that the Republican Party is losing that position. Why? Because it has lost its way. Because it’s a party engulfed in lies and in fear.’

Curbelo, a moderate conservative, lost his South Florida swing district in 2018 by only about 4,000 votes in what was a big year for Democrats. He has emerged as a vocal critic of Trump and the direction of the GOP.

In the Intelligence Squared debate, he argued that many members of Congress know Trump’s election claims are false but that they lack the courage to stand up to him, knowing that it could cost them their seats.”

Let’s be clear. Fear has long been a tool of the untruthful and bullying former president. He even bragged to NBC’s Lestor Holt in an interview that is his modus operandi. That even led two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Bob Woodward to entitle his book on the Trump White House “Fear,” based on 750 hours of interviews. But, lying is also a tool of the former president as he is well-documented from multiple sources and data points as routinely untruthful.

So, the fact the former president lied about rampant election fraud is not a surprise. If he is talking or tweeting, he is most likely lying. Or, as Thomas Wells, an attorney said about him in 2016, “Donald Trump lies every day even about things of no consequence.

What bothers me more is Republican legislators – Gaetz, Gohmert, McCarthy, Scalise, Jordan, Nunes, McConnell, Hawley, Cruz, Graham et all lying for this untruthful person. Too many continue to believe what Attorney General William Barr called “bulls**t” about the former president’s toddler-like election fraud claims.

To give the former president’s claims the appropriate reporting, use your best four year old voice and say “I didn’t lose. I won by a lot. It was stolen from me.” That is the veracity of the petulant and seditious former president’s claims. As his niece Mary said, her uncle will burn it all down to avoid losing. It should be noted that seven people are dead because of an insurrection he caused.

Former GOP lawmaker: Republican Party ‘engulfed in lies and fear’ (msn.com)