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)

Cause and Effect – two short paragraphs from former president’s last defense secretary

Two short paragraphs. Cause and effect. The former president’s defense secretary sees the former president’s role in the insurrection clearly. And, this is without addressing the lies for two months on unsupported wide-scale election fraud.

In the article called “Chris Miller, defense secretary on Jan. 6, sees ’cause and effect’ between Trump’s words and Capitol riot,” by William Cummings, USA TODAY, here are those two paragraphs:

“Former acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller said the crowd of Trump’s supporters would not have descended on the U.S. Capitol if the president had not delivered a speech just before the riot in which he decried the presidential election as ‘stolen.’ Repeating baseless claims of election fraud he first made even before voting began, Trump alleged that a ‘criminal enterprise’ involving Democrats, the news media and complicit Republicans had robbed him of victory, though he offered no evidence to support the existence of such a vast conspiracy. 

‘Would anybody have marched on the Capitol, and tried to overrun the Capitol, without the president’s speech? I think it’s pretty much definitive that wouldn’t have happened,’ Miller told “Vice on Showtime” in an interview that aired Thursday.”

The whole article can be read with the link below. The former president was impeached for these actions. Ten Republican Representatives voted to impeach and have been censured and threatened by their state party leaders. Seven Republican Senators voted to convict and have also been censured and threatened. 

The former president acted seditiously causing an insurrection against a branch of government, yet the truth tellers are vilified, not the traitor. What is wrong with that picture?

Chris Miller, defense secretary on Jan. 6, sees ’cause and effect’ between Trump’s words and Capitol riot (msn.com)

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.

Argue facts or process

This week will be the second impeachment trial in the Senate for the now former president. And, it will the second trial with a pre-ordained outcome. Sixty-seven Senators need to vote to convict the former president, but with forty-five Republicans voting that the trial should not be held, the outcome is already known. The former president will likely get 55 or so votes to convict him, but short of the necessary total, so he will be acquitted.

Yet, as with the first trial, being acquitted does not mean he is innocent. In fact, based on the testimony from the first House impeachment case, in the view of many, he is guilty of extorting Ukraine for personal gain. But, the Senate trial called no witnesses with Republican leadership calling it a sham, a witch hunt. To be frank, many honorable diplomats and staff testified at great risk over their concerns knowing the inevitable – they would lose their jobs. But, they did it anyway. Why?

Now, since the case is overwhelming against the former president, the forty-five Republican Senators are arguing process, saying that you should not try a person out of office. Many experts disagree with this statement and it should be noted, the former president was impeached by the House while being president. But, this is an age old legal tactic. If the facts favor your case, argue the facts; if the facts do not favor your case, argue against the process. If neither do, then game the system. In the first trial, no witnesses were called.

The former president continues to harp on a planned and staged fraudulent claim of voter fraud going back six months before the election. He defamed the mail-in process, hobbled the post office, he pushed Republican led state legislators to restrict the mail-in process, his campaign hired 1,000 attorneys around the country and he told his voters to vote in person knowing those votes would be counted first. And, with pockets of minor fraud examples, real or contrived by conspiracy-minded sources, he now believes his own BS, which is not unusual for him. Yet, 59 out of 60 judges do not, nor do election officials or the US AG.

So, he fueled the idea of voter fraud and the election was stolen from him, an action which was predicted four years ago by his five biographers. I am not prescient, but after reading about the 1,000 attorneys, I wrote in September that the former president will sue to avoid losing. The now former president invited zealous fans to Washington on January 6 to disrupt the electoral college confirmation. He then revved the groups up with a speech (with others) and pointed them at the capitol building. To say, as he and his sycophants have, that he had no hand in the violence is just untrue. As his niece Mary wrote, her uncle will burn it all down to avoid losing.

The facts played out right in front of us. This former president acted in a seditious manner inciting an insurrection. Yes, he will be acquitted, but he is by no means innocent.

Representative Adam Kinzinger: GOP colleagues have thanked me for speaking out against Trump

In an article by Jordan Williams of The Hill called “Kinzinger: GOP colleagues have thanked me for speaking out against Trump,” it is revealed that, silently, Representative Adam Kinzinger has more support for his speaking out against the seditious acts of the former president. The Illinois Republican has served ten years following his Air Force service. So, he took two oaths to our constitution.

A few paragraphs follow, with a link to the entire article below.

“Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) says some of his GOP colleagues have thanked him for speaking out against former President Trump over the past few weeks.

Kinzinger, a staunch critic of Trump, was one of 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach him for inciting the Jan. 6 riots at the Capitol that led to five deaths and over 100 arrests.

‘Well, there’s been backlash, you know. … Within the party base, there’s some, of course you know, as we’d expect. There’s also been a whole lot of outpouring from people that [said] ‘thanks for saying it,” he said on ‘The View’ on Wednesday. ‘I’ve heard it, even amongst my colleagues: ‘Thanks for speaking up.”

‘What it comes down to is maybe there’s backlash and maybe there’s not. But putting your career on the line when we’re going out and asking young people to be willing to fight and die to defend this country – being willing to give your career up to defend that same cause, that fidelity to the Constitution, is a small price to pay,’ he added.”

Kinzinger and Representative Liz Cheney are getting a lot of backlash from the MAGA base. Let me add a couple of thoughts for seasoning. First, Kinzinger served in the military, while the former president did not. As a result, Kinzinger swore to defend the constitution long before being elected to represent Illinois. Second, it takes a lot of courage to stand up against a vindictive person who keeps lists of people who oppose him and punishes them.*

Yet, like Cheney and the other eight Republican House members who voted to impeach the former president (while he was still president), he is getting a full measure of backlash of people who believe the well-documented untruthful former president. Oaths matter. Should not Kinzinger get more respectful consideration of his position? If someone gets vilified for kneeling during the national anthem, should not someone who fought for that flag get a modicum of credit?

*This assertion comes from two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Bob Woodward’s book “Fear” which quotes a Republican representative who saw such a list on the former president’s desk.

Kinzinger: GOP colleagues have thanked me for speaking out against Trump (msn.com)

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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)

Former Republican legislator speaks to the absence of truth in the Trump party

Carly Roman wrote in the Washington Examiner an article called “Eric Cantor: Republicans refusing to tell truth led to Capitol siege.” A few paragraphs follow, with a link to the entire article below.

Former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said a failure by elected Republicans to tell the truth led to the deadly Capitol riot on Jan. 6.

In an op-ed published in the Washington Post on Friday, Cantor focused on the challenges to the 2020 election results but argued that the trouble began when conservative groups such as Heritage Action and Tea Party Express “purposely ramped up expectations” for Republican voters who wanted to repeal Obamacare in the GOP-controlled House in 2013

‘At first, this was a political headache for me and my colleagues … but then a small group of lawmakers in the House and the Senate, led by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), started telling the base what they longed to hear: that Republicans could indeed defund Obamacare,’ he wrote. ‘These members, and indeed every other elected Republican, knew better, but very few were willing to say so.

Cantor argued that the same tactic of intentionally feeding voters misinformation to gin up the base pervaded in 2020, when claims of widespread voter fraud cast a shadow over President Biden’s electoral victory in the minds of many Republican voters, even as the courts and election officials rejected the allegations.

‘Stop the Steal’ narratives about widespread fraud, albeit without evidence, sought to undermine the [2020 election] results,” wrote Cantor while decrying former President Donald Trump’s role in the unrest.

Rioters breached the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 as lawmakers met to affirm Biden’s victory. Five people, including a U.S. Capitol Police officer, died, and Trump has been impeached on a charge of “incitement of insurrection” in connection to the mayhem of that day. Trump faces a Senate trial next month.

Calling himself by nature an optimist,’ Cantor offered a prescription for members of both parties going forward.

‘To my fellow Republicans who hope that Trump’s departure from office will end this cycle [of misinformation] … and to my Democratic friends who think this is a Republican problem … [I ask that you] engage in the competition of ideas and solve problems while moving the country forward [rather than continuing] to promote disinformation and false narratives designed to undermine our democracy,’ he wrote.

Cantor, a Republican who represented Virginia’s 7th Congressional District, chastised Trump previously. He criticized Trump for ‘assigning equal blame’ after the deadly 2017 clash at a rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

The voices of reason like Eric Cantor or Senators Jeff Flake, Bob Corker and now Rob Poirtman, who chose not to run again, are being drowned out, when they are needed most. The ten Republican representatives, led by Liz Cheney, who voted to impeach the former president, while still president are receiving death threats and admonition for voting their conscience. And, only five GOP Senators voted to hear the impeachment trial and they are being vilified.

I have written many times before, but the truthtellers in the Republican party are showing courage as they know they will be crucified by the MAGA supporters. Yet, they tell the truth anyway. Why is that? And, why have not more MAGA supporters noticed how easily violence and condemnation occurs when someone speaks out against the former president?

Eric Cantor: Republicans refusing to tell truth led to Capitol siege (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

Accountability and unity

Republican Senator Mitt Romney said yesterday, we cannot have unity without accountability. Yet, some Republican Senators are still echoing the planned fraud by the former president on the American people claiming unproven voter fraud. Others are saying the former president should not stand trial in the Senate.

As for those who do not want to hold the former president accountable, here is metaphor that uses a crying toddler example with intent.

-The toddler cried to anyone who would listen he was cheated.

-He took all measures he could to say he was cheated, unable to prove such.

-He bullied other toddlers to go along with him or he would be mean to them.

-He invited the tin soldiers to his room having wound them up for two months.

-He revved them up some more. Then he pointed them at the perceived enemy and sicced them to go do harm.

-Then, as per usual, he denied responsibility saying Mommy, it is not my fault.

The media did not do this. Democrats did not do this. The judges and election officials did not do this. Former Vice President Mike Pence did not do this. The instigator of all of this is Donald J. Trump. And, Senators who almost died cannot bring themselves to make him accountable. Really? After all that. 

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said if the former president is convicted in the Senate it would destroy the Republican Party. Too late, Senator. You, Cruz, Hawley, Paul, Gohmert, Brooks, Jordan, Nunes, et al have aided and abetted the destruction of the Republican Party by the crying toddler.

“Everyone knows I won by a lot. I was cheated. Mommy!” No, Little Donnie, you did not. And, five people are dead.